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Researchers study virus with unusual properties
Date:12/8/2008

, and then it is refolded after it is injected into the cell."

The ability of the N4 RNA polymerase to withstand this unfolding and refolding is unique. Therefore, the team decided to experiment with this property by exposing the polymerase to high temperatures. As expected, the high temperatures caused the molecule to unfold. The scientists then cooled the molecule and watched as it reformed into its original shape and regained its functions.

In addition to helping scientists to advance their understanding of the process by which phages infect bacterial cells, Murakami hopes that the novel infection strategy of the N4 phage will be useful in the development of new therapeutic methods for killing E. coli. "The N4 virus injects its own RNA polymerase, which is a type of protein, into the E. coli cell. This system could be replicated and used to deliver proteins or drugs that kill the bacterium," said Murakami. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.


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Contact: Barbara K. Kennedy
science@psu.edu
814-863-4682
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

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