Global changes in gene expression in Escherichia coli K12 induced by bacteriophage Mu Gem protein

R. H. Butler, P. Ghelardini, D. Fruci, L. Paolozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have studied the growth properties of some Mu lysogens with respect to the non-lysogenic strain and have observed that the division time in minimal medium was increased over 4-fold when the bacteria carried the prophage mutated in the gem gene (Mu gem3). Since this phage gene has previously been shown to be involved in modulation of expression of host genes, we have analysed the proteins extracted from lysogens and non-lysogens as a rapid assay of global gene expression. The pattern of proteins extracted showed marked quantitative variations between non-lysogens, lysogens for wild-type Mu and lysogens for phage Mu gem3. These effects were no longer as evident when the strains were grown in rich medium. This dramatic change in the physiological state of the lysogenic strain versus the non-lysogenic in particular growth conditions extends the concept of lysogeny. For many years, the prophage has been considered only as a potentially lethal factor, while here it also appears as a genetic element capable of profoundly modifying host biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Bacteriophage, DNA, Topology, Lysogeny, Transposon
  • Supercoiling, "Stress-regulated" genes, E. coli, Proteins, Host growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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