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A PCR study of restriction sites in lactococcal phage DNA

Authors: I.B. Powell, G.K.Y. Limsowtin and D.M. Gray


Restriction enzymes provide an important mechanism of bacterial resistance to phage infection. Restriction systems exist in many cheese starter strains of Lactococcus lactis. There is evidence that some phages that infect L. lactis have evolved to minimise the effectiveness of these restriction systems, but it is not generally known whether this is achieved by chemical modification of phage DNA to mask restriction enzyme cleavage sites or whether the DNAs of these phages simply have few (or no) sites. Evidence from limited DNA cloning (Powell and Davidson 1986) and sequencing (e.g. Lubbers et al. 1995; Chandry et al. 1997) indicates that the DNAs of the phages studied have remarkably few sites, presumably an evolutionary response to restriction systems in host strains.

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