SUMMARY: Transfer-proficient F mutants with reduced abilities to plate various F-specific phages were isolated, either by selection after mutagenesis, or as revertants of F mutants. In many of the mutants pilus-related properties were altered, including physical adsorption of R17 phage, the number of pili per cell and the outgrowth/retraction equilibrium. Complementation studies showed that the mutations were in , suggesting that specific alterations in the amino-acid sequence of the pilin subunit protein were responsible for the altered pilus properties. Complementation between the F mutants and the derepressed plasmid R100-1 restored phage sensitivity in some cases, suggesting that the incorporation of both mutant and R100-1 subunits into the pilus structure may result in conformational changes which increase the capacity of the pilus to interact with phages.


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