SUMMARY: The gene 3 coding for one minor coat protein (adsorption protein) of phage IKe was cloned into an expression plasmid and overproduced. The presence of a promoter for this gene could be demonstrated as well as the incorporation of the IKe gene 3 protein (g3p) into the cytoplasmic membrane of host cells. When 110 carboxy-terminal amino acids were deleted, the truncated protein was translocated across the cytoplasmic membrane into the periplasm. Thus the deleted amino acids bear a membrane anchor domain. In contrast to the partly homologous g3p of the Ff phages, IKe g3p did not alter the membrane properties of its host. IKe g3p was not incorporated into Ff phage particles in amounts detectable by our assays although the presence of IKe g3p may affect the efficiency of Ff phage production. The existence of a structural feature necessary for the specific recognition of the respective g3p during phage assembly is deduced.


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