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see bacteriophagebacteriophage
, virus that infects bacteria and sometimes destroys them by lysis, or dissolution of the cell. Bacteriophages, or phages, have a head composed of protein, an inner core of nucleic acid—either deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA)—and a
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; recombinationrecombination,
process of "shuffling" of genes by which new combinations can be generated. In recombination through sexual reproduction, the offspring's complete set of genes differs from that of either parent, being rather a combination of genes from both parents.
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Almost all strains of bacteria are lysogenic; that is, they have the capacity on rare occasions to lyse with the liberation of particles of bacteriophage (see illustration). Such particles can be detected by their ability to form plaques (colonies of bacteriophage) on lawns of sensitive (indicator) bacteria. The genetic determinant of the capacity of lysogenic bacteria to produce bacteriophage is a repressed phage genome (provirus) which exists in the bacterium in one of two states: (1) integrated into the bacterial chromosome (most cases), or (2) occupying some extra-chromosomal location (rare cases).

Life cycles of phage and bacterial hostenlarge picture
Life cycles of phage and bacterial host

Bacteriophages which have the potential to exist as provirus are called temperate phages. When the provirus is integrated into the bacterial genome, it is called prophage. When the germinal substance (deoxyribonucleic acid or deoxyribonucleoprotein) of certain temperate phages enters a sensitive bacterium, the outcome may be death (lysis) for the bacterium as a result of phage multiplication, or it may result in the integration of the phage nucleic acid into the host genome (as a prophage), with the formation of a stable lysogenic bacterium. The lysogenic strain is designated by the name of the sensitive strain followed, in parentheses, by the strain of lysogenizing phage, for example, Escherichia coli (λ). Such a bacterium differs from its nonlysogenic ancestor in one very special way: It is immune to lysis by phage homologous to its carried prophage. See Bacteriophage

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the genetically determined capacity of bacteria to undergo lysis, with the release of a bacteriophage, through a number of generations after direct infection.

The theory of lysogeny was elaborated in 1950 by the French scientists A. Lwoff and A. Gutman, who showed that the lysogenic state is associated with the presence in bacterial cells of a potentially infectious structure called a prophage. In each generation of lysogenic bacteria a very small proportion of the cells (approximately one per million) undergoes lysis, releasing from 70 to 150 particles of temperate phage. The frequency of the conversion of the prophage to an infectious state (prophage induction) may be increased by a number of agents, such as ultraviolet rays.

After infection of the bacterial cell by the temperate phage, the process of infection can develop in either of two directions: the lytic cycle or lysogenization. The lytic cycle, like the cycle in which the bacteria are infected with virulent phages, ends with lysis of the cells and the release of the progeny of the phage into the surrounding medium. In lysogenization, immunity to the infecting phage develops as a result of biosynthetic processes in the cell, phage DNA is incorporated by the bacterial DNA and subsequently replicated together with it as one of its components (prophage), and the bacterium survives and becomes lysogenic (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. General diagram of lysogeny

The fate of the cell is decided during the first stages of infection and depends chiefly on when immunity develops. Lysogenization may take place if the onset of immunity occurs before the development of the infection reaches the stage that leads irreversibly to lysis. Bacterial genomes may contain the prophages of several different phages simultaneously (multiple lysogeny), in which case the cells will be immune to all of the phages. Changes in several of the properties of the bacterial cell (lysogenic conversion) may result from lysogenization, owing to the acquisition by the bacterium of new genetic information. Artificially produced lysogenic bacteria do not differ in their properties from lysogenic bacteria found under natural conditions.

Recovery, or loss of the prophage, occurs in a small proportion of the progeny of a lysogenic cell. The cells that have lost their prophage give rise to nonlysogenic lines. The frequency of this process may be increased by the action of ultraviolet rays. Thus, lysogeny, a complex form of viral infection in bacteria, may allow for a large number of cell generations between the moment the bacteria are infected with the phage and the lysis of the cells.


Luria, S., and J. Darnell. Obshchaia virusologiia. Moscow, 1970. (Translated from English.)
Ravin, V. K. Lizogeniia. Moscow, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Lysis of bacteria, with the liberation of bacteriophage particles.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The magnitude of the lysogenic induction was measured using the induction factor (IF), calculated as the ratio between the number of plaques of each test group and the number of plaques of the negative control group.
Lysogenic bacteriophage A bacteriophage is a virus that infects bacterial cells for its reproduction.
P1 replicates as a 90 kilobase (kb) plasmid in the lysogenic state and is partitioned equally into two new daughter cells during normal cell division (2, 7, 18).
For example, the lysogenic state of phage lambda is maintained by the cI repressor gene, which binds to control regions for the lytic cycle, shutting down those regions.
(8) Most of these superantigens are encoded by genes located on mobile genetic elements or comprising insertion elements or plasmids or transposons, so-called pathogenicity islands (e.g., TSST-1 and some enterotoxins) or lysogenic bacteriophages.
They can either reside in the bacterial host genome in a lysogenic state, or enter a lytic state to destroy bacteria, and thus can be used for therapeutic purposes.
In the third "community shuffling" model, temperate phages could lyse their previously lysogenic host upon induction.
Analysis of the construct highlighted the absence of most of the genes normally involved in the regulation of the switch between the lysogenic state and the lytic cycle of lambdoid phages, such as cro, cI, cII, cIII, and N.
The insertion of prophages might be due to previous lysogenic bacteriophage infection and this probably confers pathogenicity to the bacterial host and changes its diversity.
Papers giving general information include the history of phage research and therapy, phage biology, bacteriophage evolution and the role of phages in host evolution, phage ecology and bacteria pathogenesis, phage lysis, and lysogeny, prophage induction and lysogenic conversion.
Bacterial viruses in coastal seawater: lytic rather than lysogenic production.
coli, a number of drug resistant genetic determinants was identified along with other virulence, invasion, secretion and lysogenic phage genes.