Genetic and biochemical characterization of λ spanin
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The lambda lysis genes Rz and Rz1 play an important role at the final step of bacterial cell lysis. Rz encodes an integral inner membrane protein and Rz1 encodes an outer membrane lipoprotein. These two proteins form a complex that spans the periplasm and thus the term spanins. Previous studies had made it clear that both of these proteins are required for the outer membrane disruption, however its mode of action is still unclear. On the other hand, due to its unusual genetic architecture where Rz1 allele is entirely embedded within Rz allele at +1 reading frame, thorough genetic analysis was intractable. Here we report our approach of separating these two complementary genes in the lambda lysis cassette. In parallel, a collection of both Rz and Rz1 mutants were isolated in order to better understand their role in lysis. The isolated mutants were tested for their expression in-vivo. Our attempt to further characterize their biochemical role is still in progress. Similarly, isolating the intergenic or intragenic suppressor of the mutants under study is also in progress.
Kulkarni, Aneesha (2014). Genetic and biochemical characterization of λ spanin. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from