Lysis-lysogeny coexistence: prophage integration during lytic development. Academic Article uri icon


  • The infection of Escherichia coli cells by bacteriophage lambda results in bifurcated means of propagation, where the phage decides between the lytic and lysogenic pathways. Although traditionally thought to be mutually exclusive, increasing evidence suggests that this lysis-lysogeny decision is more complex than once believed, but exploring its intricacies requires an improved resolution of study. Here, with a newly developed fluorescent reporter system labeling single phage and E.coli DNAs, these two distinct pathways can be visualized by following the DNA movements in vivo. Surprisingly, we frequently observed an interesting "lyso-lysis" phenomenon in lytic cells, where phage integrates its DNA into the host, a characteristic event of the lysogenic pathway, followed by cell lysis. Furthermore, the frequency of lyso-lysis increases with the number of infecting phages, and specifically, with CII activity. Moreover, in lytic cells, the integration site attB on the E.coli genome migrates toward the polar region over time, leading to more spatial overlap with the phage DNA and frequent colocalization/collision of attB and phage DNA, possibly contributing to a higher chance for DNA integration.

published proceedings

  • Microbiologyopen

altmetric score

  • 2.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Shao, Q., Trinh, J. T., McIntosh, C. S., Christenson, B., Balzsi, G., & Zeng, L.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Shao, Qiuyan||Trinh, Jimmy T||McIntosh, Colby S||Christenson, Brita||Balázsi, Gábor||Zeng, Lanying

publication date

  • February 2017