Introduction to Bacteriophage λ
The project consisted of five individual parts, each assigned to one team member, and categorized into one of three independent principles underlying the project:
Currently, E. coli strains have been constructed that contain a low-copy plasmid construct where one of three key developmental viral genes - coding for the Cro, N, or Q proteins - is regulated by a tetracycline-dependent promoter. The addition of anhydrotetracycline (aTc) inactivates the tetracycline repressor and leads to the production of the respective viral protein in the E. coli cells. This allows us to control the concentration of viral protein produced in the cells by adding varying amounts of aTc to the bacterial growth media. Heterologous N and Q have been shown to complement phages with amber mutations in the respective genes. Adding a cis-repressor to the Q construct lowered production of Q and prevented complementation. We were unable to express sufficient cro from a plasmid to rescue a cro mutant phage.
Multiple riboregulator designs are being tested (for both activation and repression levels), and successful designs will be cloned into the plasmid constructs. Phages resulting from the recombineering process are also being screened for successful N and Q amber mutants.