Thesis

DNA packaging by terminase large subunit in methanophage PG

Recent studies have shown bacteriophages infect living organisms from all three domains of life, however, not much is known about phages that infect the Archaea. Of the approximate 50 reported archaeal phages, PG is one of only three known viruses that infects methanogens and falls within the order of tailed-bacteriophages, Caudovirales. Tailed bacteriophages have differing DNA replication strategies that is reflected by the various terminal chromosomal ends created by the terminase large subunit. Although PG's replication and packaging process is unknown, bioinformatic studies of PG's terminase large subunit could help identify potential DNA packaging strategies. Comparative analysis between other phages demonstrate that they cluster together according to the type of terminal ends they create. PG was shown to cluster with termini short direct terminal repeats and cohesive ends. Studying the terminase large subunit of PG could lead to a better understanding of its replication strategy, genetic history, and increase our understanding of viruses in general.

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