Dictionary > Phage

Phage

Definition
noun, plural: phages
(1) A bacteriophage: a virus capable of infecting a bacterial cell, and may cause lysis to its host cell.
(2) A suffix that means a thing that eats or devours (as macrophage).
Supplement
Bacteriophages or phages have a specific affinity for bacteria. They are made of an outer protein coat or capsid that encloses the genetic material (which can be an RNA or DNA, about 5,000 to 500,000 nucleotides in length). They inject their genetic material into the bacterium following infection. When the phage strain is virulent, all the synthesis of the host’s DNA, RNA and proteins ceases. The phage genome is then used to direct the synthesis of phage nucleic acids and proteins using the host’s transcriptional and translational apparatus. When the sub-components of the phage are produced, they self-assemble to form new phage particles. The new phages produce lysozyme that ruptures the cell wall of the host, leading to the release of the new phages, each ready to invade other bacterial cells.
Word origin: from Greek phagein (to eat)
Also called: bacteriophage
Related terms:


You will also like...

squirrel
Animal Water Regulation

Animals adapt to their environment in aspects of anatomy, physiology, and behavior. This tutorial will help you understa..

New Zealand Flora & Fauna
Ecology & Biodiversity: New Zealand Flora & Fauna

New Zealand is known for its unique biodiversity, caused by its remarkable geography and geologic history. Breaking away..

temperature - abiotic factor
Abiotic and Biotic Factors

This tutorial deals with the abiotic factors of the freshwater environment that determine what sort of life would be sui..

Protein (illustration)
Protein Variety

The sequence of amino acids determines the type of protein. Protein is synthesized according to the sequence of nucleoti..

Control of body movement
Control of Body Movement

Some of the body movements can be controlled at will, others cannot. The body has a motor program, which is the pattern ..

dinosaurs
The Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs represented a major turn in the evolutionary development of organisms on Earth. The first dinosaurs were presu..