Four bacteriophages with non-contractile tails were thought to be pilus-dependent because they did not lyse pilus-less host mutants. They were, therefore, subjected to a series of tests based on the properties of known pilus phages. The lytic spectra of the phages and their efficiency of adsorption to various host mutants were compared with those of the RNA pilus phage PP7 and the tailed pilus phage PO4. Electron microscopy was used to locate the sites of adsorption of the candidate phages on sensitive host cells, and on cells of host mutants with non-retractile pili. In all respects, the four isolates behaved like known pilus phages, and it was concluded that they too were pilus-dependent. A detailed model for the adsorption process of one of the isolates (M6) is proposed on the basis of high-resolution electron micrographs.


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