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Press Release 04-105
Viruses on the Attack

Revealing visuals show details of a common mechanism for infection

Back to article | Note about images

Picture of bacteriophage T4

The bacteriophage T4 is preparing to infect its host cell. The structure of bacteriophage T4 is derived from three-dimensional cryo-electron microscopy reconstructions of the baseplate, tail sheath and head capsid, as well as from crystallographic analyses of various phage components. The baseplate and tail proteins are shown in distinct colors.

Credit: Purdue University and Seyet LLC. The animation is based on both recent discoveries and extensive earlier work by a large number of investigators. A full list of contributors is available at the conclusion of the animation.


Download the high-resolution TIFF version of the image. (536 KB)

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Detailed images of bacteriophage T4 component structures

The left panel shows the structure of the bacteriophage T4 baseplate in the hexagonal conformation when the sheath is extended prior to attachment to the host cell. Colors identify different proteins. Gray lines show variable orientations of the long tail fibers. The two middle panels show the phage attaching to the host cell with its long tail fibers, followed by irreversible binding with the short tail fibers that extend from underneath the baseplate. The right panel shows the baseplate in the star conformation associated with the contracted tail when the phage is attached to the host cell. The color code for the baseplate proteins in the two conformation is the same as for the hexagonal conformation image.

Credit: Petr G. Leiman, Paul R. Chipman, Victor A. Kostyuchenko, Vadim V. Mesynazhinov and Michael G. Rossmann. Researchers are affiliated with Purdue University and the Shenyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry in Moscow. The original line drawin


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This animated video depicts bacteriophage T4 infecting its host cell.

Credit: Purdue University and Seyet LLC. The animation is based on both recent discoveries and extensive earlier work by a large number of investigators. A full list of contributors is available at the conclusion of the animation.


Download the high-resolution TIFF version of the image. (523.3 KB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.



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