SUMMARY: Thirty-three virulent and five temperate phages of and were differentiated into three groups by DNA homology. A complete lack of DNA homology was demonstrated between the phage groups. Within each group, large parts of the phage genomes were homologous except for a few phages. One group consisted of five temperate and two virulent phages suggesting that virulent phages isolated during abnormal fermentations and temperate phages isolated after induction from lactic streptococcal starter cultures may be related to one another. We observed a good correlation between the grouping of phages by DNA homology and by their protein composition since within the same DNA homology group, the protein composition of a phage exhibited some similarities with that of the other phages of the group. Therefore, the DNA homologies seemed to be located, at least, in the region coding for the structural proteins. By immunoblotting. we confirmed the relatedness between the proteins of the phages belonging to the same DNA homology group. The important host range factor in bacterium-phage interactions appeared to be an unreliable criterion in determining phage taxonomy.


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