The transcription of temperate phage Mu throughout lytic development was analysed quantitatively by hybridization of pulse-labelled RNA to full-length Mu DNA and to plasmids that define Mu DNA segments covering the whole phage genome. The transcription rate (i.e. binding data corrected for the incorporation rate of the radioactive precursor, for the size of the DNA template, and for the number of phage genomes present in the bacterium at the time of analysis) revealed three defined phases of Mu transcription: early (0 to 9 min), intermediate (between 9 and the interval 14 to 17 min) and late (from the interval 14 to 17 min onward). The analysis also revealed that the region comprising the genes involved in phage morphogenesis was organized into two independent ‘late’ transcription units.


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