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...

Genetics and Evolution
Genetics and Evolution

Humans are diploid creatures. This means that for every chromosome in the body, there is another one to match it. Howeve..

running freshwater community
Running Water Freshwater Community Factors

This tutorial noted some of the physical and chemical factors that provide the framework of a running water community in..

Pikas are an indicator species for climate change
Indicator Species and Endangered Species

Certain species are capable of expressing characteristics indicative of the state of the ecosystem they occupy. They are..

Body temperature regulation by the hypothalamus
Temperature Regulation in Animals

This tutorial elucidates body temperature regulation. Know the details here to learn how the body sets the body temperat..

Protein (illustration)
Protein Variety

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

Sugar Homeostasis
Sugar Homeostasis

The blood sugar level is regulated by two hormones. The mechanism behind this type of negative feedback control is descr..