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Biology LibreTexts

10.7: Bacteriophage Life Cycles: An Overview

Skills to Develop

  1. Name the 2 types of bacteriophage life cycles and state what the bacteriophage capable of each is called.

As mentioned in an earlier section, bacteriophages are viruses that only infect bacteria (also see Fig. 1C and Fig. 2E). There are two primary types of bacteriophages: lytic bacteriophages and temperate bacteriophages. Bacteriophages that replicate through the lytic life cycle are called lytic bacteriophages, and are so named because they lyse the host bacterium as a normal part of their life cycle. Bacteriophages capable of a lysogenic life cycle are termed temperate phages. When a temperate phage infects a bacterium, it can either replicate by means of the lytic life cycleand cause lysis of the host bacterium, or, it can incorporate its DNA into the bacterium's DNAand become a noninfectious prophage. We will now look at the lytic life cycle and lysogenic life cycle of bacteriophages.

Summary

  1. Bacteriophages are viruses that only infect bacteria.
  2. Bacteriophages that replicate through the lytic life cycle are called lytic bacteriophages, and are so named because they lyse the host bacterium as a normal part of their life cycle.
  3. Bacteriophages capable of a lysogenic life cycle are termed temperate phages. and can either replicate by means of the lytic life cycle and cause lysis of the host bacterium, or, can incorporate their DNA into the bacterium's DNA and become a non-infectious prophage.

Contributors

  • Dr. Gary Kaiser (COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF BALTIMORE COUNTY, CATONSVILLE CAMPUS)