With the help of diffraction and optical image reconstruction we have begun to study the arrangement of the protein subunits in the G bacteriophage of Bacillus megatherium. The arrangement of the structural subunits in the tail sheath was completely defined for both the extended and the contracted states. It is basically the same as that observed for the T-even phages, despite their different general architecture. With regard to the process of contraction of the sheath, an unstable intermediate state was observed. This corresponds to a rearrangement of the chemical bonds between the protein subunits before the complete mechanical contraction of the sheath. The process of contraction itself was studied and a simple model proposed.
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