Classification of Bacteriophages

Broadly pages can be classified as either virulent or temperate.


The process of phage infecting a bacterium and producing progeny is referred to as lytic Infection. A virulent phage subverts the cellular apparatus of its bacteria host for multiplification, and release of progeny virions. Eg. T4.

Temperate phages have alternative replication cycles: lytic infection or a lysogenic pathways.

Lysogenic pathway is a pathway in which phage remains latent in the host. Phages are capable of maintaining their chromosome in a stable, silent state within the bacteria. When the bacterium contains a silent phage chromosome, it is referred to as a Lysogen. The incorporated phage genome is referred to as a Prophage.

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