The structure and infective process of a contractile bacteriophage (PB-1) was studied in the electron microscope using negative staining and thin sections. The octahedral form of the phage head was demonstrated by comparing electron micrographs with models. Sections of infected cells showed condensation of the nucleoplasm up to 30 min. after infection followed by its gradual dispersion. The first intracellular phage appeared 20 min. after infection; the individual particles were surrounded by clear regions. Lysis began 30 min. after infection. First, bulges appeared in the cell wall which then peeled off. The plasma membrane disintegrated, causing the cell to split open, releasing virus particles. The length of the phage nucleic acid was found to be about 24 µ by electron microscopy. It contained double-stranded DNA as indicated by acridine orange staining.


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