Herranz, L., Bordas, Joan, Towns-Andrews, Elizabeth, Mendez, E., Usobiaga, P. and Carrascosa, J.L. (1990) Conformational changes in bacteriophage Ø 29 connector prevents DNA-binding activity*. Journal of Molecular Biology, 213 (2). pp. 263-273. ISSN 0022-2836

In vitro DNA packaging activity in a defined system derived from bacteriophage Ø29 depends upon the chemical integrity of the connector protein p10. Proteolytic cleavage of p10 rendered the proheads inactive for DNA packaging. A similar treatment on isolated connectors abolished the DNA-binding activity of the native p10, but the general shape and size of the connector was not changed as revealed by electron microscopy. Analytical ultracentrifugation showed that the proteolyzed connectors had a smaller sedimentation coefficient, while amino acid analysis after dialysis of the proteolyzed p10 confirmed the loss of 16 and 19 amino acids from the amino and carboxy termini, respectively. Low angle X-ray scattering revealed that proteolysis was followed by a small decrease in the radius of gyration and a reorganization of the distal domain of the cylindrical inner part of the connector. Characterization of the cleavage sites in the primary sequence allowed us to propose the location of the DNA-binding domain in the connector model.

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