Sherwood Casjens & Jonathan King (1974) J. Supramolecular Sructure, 2, 202-224

P22 morphogenesis I; Cataltic scaffolding protein in capsid assembly


About 250 molecules of the 42,000 molecular weight gene 8 product catalyze the polymerization of the major phage coat protein into a precursor shell temporarily containing both proteins. The resulting prohead appears to be a shell structure with the P8, or scaffolding protein, on the inside, and the coat protein on the outside. In concert with DNA condensation inside the shell, all 250 scaffolding molecules exit from the prohead, without proteolytic cleavage. These molecules then recycle and catalyze the formation of more proheas from newly synthesized coat protein. Such proteins, which catalyze assembly by temporarily associating with an intermediate stage, may represent a general mechanism of macromolecular assembly.

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