Structural changes of tailless bacteriophage Φx174 during penetration of bacterial cell walls

Yingyuan Sun, Aaron P. Roznowski, Joshua M. Tokuda, Thomas Klose, Alexander Mauney, Lois Pollack, Bentley A. Fane, Michael G. Rossmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Unlike tailed bacteriophages, which use a preformed tail for transporting their genomes into a host bacterium, the ssDNA bacteriophage ΦX174 is tailless. Using cryo-electron microscopy and time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering, we show that lipopolysaccharides (LPS) form bilayers that interact with ΦX174 at an icosahedral fivefold vertex and induce single-stranded (ss) DNA genome ejection. The structures of ΦX174 complexed with LPS have been determined for the pre- and post-ssDNA ejection states. The ejection is initiated by the loss of the G protein spike that encounters the LPS, followed by conformational changes of two polypeptide loops on the major capsid F proteins. One of these loops mediates viral attachment, and the other participates in making the fivefold channel at the vertex contacting the LPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13708-13713
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 26 2017


  • Bacteriophage
  • Cryo-EM
  • DNA ejection
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • ΦX174

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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