The following cartoon shows the stages of the lytic life cycle of a typical dsDNA bacteriophage.
Each of the stages of infection requires sufficient time expression of the proper genes and function of the gene products. The following figure shows the course of a lytic phage infection observed under the microscope. (You can see a real time video clip of the lysis at http://www.cellsalive.com.)
The stages of infection can be followed using a one-step growth curve. The results of one-step growth curves for a phage capable of growing lytically on the infected host, a phage that can infect but cannot lyse the host, a phage that cannot adsorb to the host, and a control without host cells are shown in the figure below.
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Last modified November 26, 2003