viral tail proteins


Summary: Proteins found in the tail sections of DNA and RNA viruses. It is believed that these proteins play a role in directing chain folding and assembly of polypeptide chains.

Top Publications

  1. Barbirz S, Becker M, Freiberg A, Seckler R. Phage tailspike proteins with beta-solenoid fold as thermostable carbohydrate binding materials. Macromol Biosci. 2009;9:169-73 pubmed publisher
    ..They resist denaturation by SDS at ambient temperature and their unfolding is slow even in 6 M guanidinium hydrochloride (GdmHCl). This makes them interesting candidates for very stable carbohydrate binding protein materials. ..
  2. Olia A, Casjens S, Cingolani G. Structure of phage P22 cell envelope–penetrating needle. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2007;14:1221-6 pubmed
    ..The slender conformation of the gp26 fiber minimizes the surface exposed to solvent, which is consistent with the idea that gp26 traverses the cell envelope lipid bilayers...
  3. Bhardwaj A, Molineux I, Casjens S, Cingolani G. Atomic structure of bacteriophage Sf6 tail needle knob. J Biol Chem. 2011;286:30867-77 pubmed publisher
    ..In analogy to P22 gp26, we suggest the tail needle of phage Sf6 is ejected through the bacterial cell envelope during infection and its C-terminal knob is threaded through peptidoglycan pores formed by glycan strands. ..
  4. Kondou Y, Kitazawa D, Takeda S, Tsuchiya Y, Yamashita E, Mizuguchi M, et al. Structure of the central hub of bacteriophage Mu baseplate determined by X-ray crystallography of gp44. J Mol Biol. 2005;352:976-85 pubmed
    ..The molecular surface of the gp44 trimer that abuts the host cell membrane is positively charged, and it is likely that Mu phage interacts with the membrane through electrostatic interactions mediated by gp44. ..
  5. Bartual S, Garcia Doval C, Alonso J, Schoehn G, van Raaij M. Two-chaperone assisted soluble expression and purification of the bacteriophage T4 long tail fibre protein gp37. Protein Expr Purif. 2010;70:116-21 pubmed publisher
    ..Purified, correctly folded, gp37 will be useful for receptor-binding studies, high-resolution structural studies and for specific binding and detection of bacteria...
  6. Gallet R, Shao Y, Wang I. High adsorption rate is detrimental to bacteriophage fitness in a biofilm-like environment. BMC Evol Biol. 2009;9:241 pubmed publisher
  7. Thomassen E, Gielen G, Schutz M, Schoehn G, Abrahams J, Miller S, et al. The structure of the receptor-binding domain of the bacteriophage T4 short tail fibre reveals a knitted trimeric metal-binding fold. J Mol Biol. 2003;331:361-73 pubmed
    ..It reveals a metal-binding site, containing a zinc ion coordinated by six histidine residues in an octahedral conformation. We also suggest an LPS-binding region. ..
  8. Veesler D, Robin G, Lichi re J, Auzat I, Tavares P, Bron P, et al. Crystal structure of bacteriophage SPP1 distal tail protein (gp19.1): a baseplate hub paradigm in gram-positive infecting phages. J Biol Chem. 2010;285:36666-73 pubmed publisher
  9. Bhardwaj A, Walker Kopp N, Wilkens S, Cingolani G. Foldon-guided self-assembly of ultra-stable protein fibers. Protein Sci. 2008;17:1475-85 pubmed publisher

More Information


  1. Olia A, Al Bassam J, Winn Stapley D, Joss L, Casjens S, Cingolani G. Binding-induced stabilization and assembly of the phage P22 tail accessory factor gp4. J Mol Biol. 2006;363:558-76 pubmed
  2. Barbirz S, Müller J, Uetrecht C, Clark A, Heinemann U, Seckler R. Crystal structure of Escherichia coli phage HK620 tailspike: podoviral tailspike endoglycosidase modules are evolutionarily related. Mol Microbiol. 2008;69:303-16 pubmed publisher
    ..We propose that the tailspike genes of P22, Sf6 and HK620 have a common precursor and are not mosaics of unrelated gene fragments...
  3. Veesler D, Spinelli S, Mahony J, Lichière J, Blangy S, Bricogne G, et al. Structure of the phage TP901-1 1.8 MDa baseplate suggests an alternative host adhesion mechanism. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109:8954-8 pubmed publisher
    ..These data suggest that these two families rely on diverse adhesion strategies which may lead to different signaling for genome release...
  4. Leiman P, Chipman P, Kostyuchenko V, Mesyanzhinov V, Rossmann M. Three-dimensional rearrangement of proteins in the tail of bacteriophage T4 on infection of its host. Cell. 2004;118:419-29 pubmed
    ..A comparison with the metastable hexagonal baseplate of the mature virus shows that the baseplate proteins move as rigid bodies relative to each other during the structural change. ..
  5. Olia A, Casjens S, Cingolani G. Structural plasticity of the phage P22 tail needle gp26 probed with xenon gas. Protein Sci. 2009;18:537-48 pubmed publisher
    ..The C-terminal tip may be important in scanning the bacterial surface in search of a cell-envelope penetration site, or for recognition of a yet unidentified receptor on the surface of the host...
  6. Leiman P, Kostyuchenko V, Shneider M, Kurochkina L, Mesyanzhinov V, Rossmann M. Structure of bacteriophage T4 gene product 11, the interface between the baseplate and short tail fibers. J Mol Biol. 2000;301:975-85 pubmed
  7. Bebeacua C, Bron P, Lai L, Vegge C, Brøndsted L, Spinelli S, et al. Structure and molecular assignment of lactococcal phage TP901-1 baseplate. J Biol Chem. 2010;285:39079-86 pubmed publisher
    ..The comparison of several Siphoviridae structures uncovers a close organization of their central BP core whereas striking differences occur at the periphery, leading to diverse mechanisms of host recognition...
  8. Freiberg A, Morona R, Van den Bosch L, Jung C, Behlke J, Carlin N, et al. The tailspike protein of Shigella phage Sf6. A structural homolog of Salmonella phage P22 tailspike protein without sequence similarity in the beta-helix domain. J Biol Chem. 2003;278:1542-8 pubmed
    ..The observations strongly suggest that the tailspike of phage Sf6 is a trimeric parallel beta-helix protein with high structural similarity to its functional homolog from phage P22...
  9. Müller J, Barbirz S, Heinle K, Freiberg A, Seckler R, Heinemann U. An intersubunit active site between supercoiled parallel beta helices in the trimeric tailspike endorhamnosidase of Shigella flexneri Phage Sf6. Structure. 2008;16:766-75 pubmed publisher
    ..Sf6 TSP may serve as an example for the evolution of different host specificities on a similar general architecture...
  10. Bhardwaj A, Walker Kopp N, Casjens S, Cingolani G. An evolutionarily conserved family of virion tail needles related to bacteriophage P22 gp26: correlation between structural stability and length of the alpha-helical trimeric coiled coil. J Mol Biol. 2009;391:227-45 pubmed publisher
    ..Thus, the overall stability of these bacteriophage fibers is not solely dependent on the number of trimerization repeats in the alpha-helical core. ..
  11. Qu Y, Hyman P, Harrah T, Goldberg E. In vivo bypass of chaperone by extended coiled-coil motif in T4 tail fiber. J Bacteriol. 2004;186:8363-9 pubmed publisher
    ..The increased melting temperature should be useful for "clamps" to initiate the folding of trimeric beta-helices in vitro and as an in vivo screen to identify, sequence, and characterize trimeric coiled coils...
  12. Steinbacher S, Miller S, Baxa U, Budisa N, Weintraub A, Seckler R, et al. Phage P22 tailspike protein: crystal structure of the head-binding domain at 2.3 A, fully refined structure of the endorhamnosidase at 1.56 A resolution, and the molecular basis of O-antigen recognition and cleavage. J Mol Biol. 1997;267:865-80 pubmed
  13. Schwarzer D, Stummeyer K, Gerardy Schahn R, Muhlenhoff M. Characterization of a novel intramolecular chaperone domain conserved in endosialidases and other bacteriophage tail spike and fiber proteins. J Biol Chem. 2007;282:2821-31 pubmed
    ..In summary, we characterize the CTD as a novel C-terminal chaperone domain, which assists folding and assembly of unrelated phage proteins. ..
  14. Leiman P, Molineux I. Evolution of a new enzyme activity from the same motif fold. Mol Microbiol. 2008;69:287-90 pubmed publisher
    ..The substrate-binding site is intrasubunit in P22 and HK620 tailspikes, but intersubunit in Sf6, demonstrating how phages can adapt the same protein fold to recognize different substrates...
  15. Efimov A, Kurochkina L, Mesyanzhinov V. Engineering of bacteriophage T4 tail sheath protein. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2002;67:1366-70 pubmed
    ..For the first time we succeeded in obtaining crystals of a soluble gp18 fragment containing 510 amino acids which, according to trypsin resistance, is similar to native protein monomer. ..
  16. Huiskonen J, Manole V, Butcher S. Tale of two spikes in bacteriophage PRD1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007;104:6666-71 pubmed
    ..P5, with a tumor necrosis factor-like head domain, may have been responsible for host recognition before capture of the current receptor-binding protein P2...
  17. Sciara G, Bebeacua C, Bron P, Tremblay D, Ortiz Lombardia M, Lichière J, et al. Structure of lactococcal phage p2 baseplate and its mechanism of activation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107:6852-7 pubmed publisher
    ..These conformational changes reveal a novel siphophage activation and host-recognition mechanism leading ultimately to DNA ejection...
  18. Stummeyer K, Schwarzer D, Claus H, Vogel U, Gerardy Schahn R, Muhlenhoff M. Evolution of bacteriophages infecting encapsulated bacteria: lessons from Escherichia coli K1-specific phages. Mol Microbiol. 2006;60:1123-35 pubmed
    ..Thereby, the present study contributes not only to an improved understanding of phage evolution and host-range extension but may also facilitate the on purpose design of therapeutic phages based on well-characterized template phages. ..
  19. Hashemolhosseini S, Stierhof Y, Hindennach I, Henning U. Characterization of the helper proteins for the assembly of tail fibers of coliphages T4 and lambda. J Bacteriol. 1996;178:6258-65 pubmed
    ..The 194-residue pTfa is also acidic (an excess of 13 negative charges) and is likely to be dimeric. ..
  20. Vegge C, Vogensen F, Mc Grath S, Neve H, van Sinderen D, Brøndsted L. Identification of the lower baseplate protein as the antireceptor of the temperate lactococcal bacteriophages TP901-1 and Tuc2009. J Bacteriol. 2006;188:55-63 pubmed
    ..Electron micrographs revealed altered baseplate morphology of TP901-1C compared to that of the parental phage. ..
  21. Dunn I. Total modification of the bacteriophage lambda tail tube major subunit protein with foreign peptides. Gene. 1996;183:15-21 pubmed
    ..After extensive purification such phage were shown by sensitive Western blotting to contain only the modified form of gpV. Peptide-modified gpV could also form indefinite tail tube polymeric structures (polytubes). ..
  22. Mahichi F, Synnott A, Yamamichi K, Osada T, Tanji Y. Site-specific recombination of T2 phage using IP008 long tail fiber genes provides a targeted method for expanding host range while retaining lytic activity. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009;295:211-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Future analyses of host-range mutants of the closely related phages T2 and IP008 could lead to a more precise localization of the genetic factors responsible for receptor specificity. ..
  23. Bartual S, Otero J, Garcia Doval C, Llamas Saiz A, Kahn R, Fox G, et al. Structure of the bacteriophage T4 long tail fiber receptor-binding tip. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107:20287-92 pubmed publisher
    ..The structure reveals a previously unknown beta-structured fibrous fold, provides insights into the remarkable stability of the fiber, and suggests a framework for mutations to expand or modulate receptor-binding specificity. ..
  24. Aksyuk A, Leiman P, Kurochkina L, Shneider M, Kostyuchenko V, Mesyanzhinov V, et al. The tail sheath structure of bacteriophage T4: a molecular machine for infecting bacteria. EMBO J. 2009;28:821-9 pubmed publisher
    ..It was shown that during contraction, gp18 subunits slide over each other with no apparent change in their structure...
  25. Andres D, Hanke C, Baxa U, Seul A, Barbirz S, Seckler R. Tailspike interactions with lipopolysaccharide effect DNA ejection from phage P22 particles in vitro. J Biol Chem. 2010;285:36768-75 pubmed publisher
  26. Andres D, Baxa U, Hanke C, Seckler R, Barbirz S. Carbohydrate binding of Salmonella phage P22 tailspike protein and its role during host cell infection. Biochem Soc Trans. 2010;38:1386-9 pubmed publisher
    ..In vivo, the infection of Salmonella with phage P22 can be completely inhibited by the addition of LPS, indicating that binding of phage to its host via TSP is an essential step for infection...
  27. Pell L, Liu A, Edmonds L, Donaldson L, Howell P, Davidson A. The X-ray crystal structure of the phage lambda tail terminator protein reveals the biologically relevant hexameric ring structure and demonstrates a conserved mechanism of tail termination among diverse long-tailed phages. J Mol Biol. 2009;389:938-51 pubmed publisher
  28. Olia A, Bhardwaj A, Joss L, Casjens S, Cingolani G. Role of gene 10 protein in the hierarchical assembly of the bacteriophage P22 portal vertex structure. Biochemistry. 2007;46:8776-84 pubmed
    ..The assembled portal vertex structure represents both a membrane-binding and penetrating device as well as a plug that retains the pressurized phage DNA inside the capsid...
  29. Takeda S, Arisaka F, Ishii S, Kyogoku Y. Structural studies of the contractile tail sheath protein of bacteriophage T4. 1. Conformational change of the tail sheath upon contraction as probed by differential chemical modification. Biochemistry. 1990;29:5050-6 pubmed
    ..Cys402 and Cys406 were modified only under reducing conditions, which strongly suggested the presence of a disulfide bond between these two residues...
  30. Steinbacher S, Baxa U, Miller S, Weintraub A, Seckler R, Huber R. Crystal structure of phage P22 tailspike protein complexed with Salmonella sp. O-antigen receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996;93:10584-8 pubmed
    ..Kinetics of binding and cleavage suggest a role of the receptor destroying endorhamnosidase activity primarily for detachment of newly assembled phages...
  31. Baxa U, Steinbacher S, Miller S, Weintraub A, Huber R, Seckler R. Interactions of phage P22 tails with their cellular receptor, Salmonella O-antigen polysaccharide. Biophys J. 1996;71:2040-8 pubmed
    ..Thus, movement of virions in the lipopolysaccharide layer before DNA injection may involve the release and rebinding of individual tailspikes rather than hydrolysis of the O-antigen...
  32. Wang J, Hofnung M, Charbit A. The C-terminal portion of the tail fiber protein of bacteriophage lambda is responsible for binding to LamB, its receptor at the surface of Escherichia coli K-12. J Bacteriol. 2000;182:508-12 pubmed
    ..Electron microscopy further demonstrated that the fusion protein could also bind to LamB at the surface of intact cells. This interaction prevented lambda adsorption but affected only partially maltose uptake...
  33. Kanamaru S, Leiman P, Kostyuchenko V, Chipman P, Mesyanzhinov V, Arisaka F, et al. Structure of the cell-puncturing device of bacteriophage T4. Nature. 2002;415:553-7 pubmed
    ..The amino-terminal, antiparallel beta-barrel domain of gp5 is inserted into a cylinder formed by three gp27 monomers, which may serve as a channel for DNA ejection. ..
  34. Kreisberg J, Betts S, Haase Pettingell C, King J. The interdigitated beta-helix domain of the P22 tailspike protein acts as a molecular clamp in trimer stabilization. Protein Sci. 2002;11:820-30 pubmed
    ..This interdigitated beta-helix appears to function as a molecular clamp insuring thermostable subunit association in the native trimer...
  35. Leiman P, Kanamaru S, Mesyanzhinov V, Arisaka F, Rossmann M. Structure and morphogenesis of bacteriophage T4. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003;60:2356-70 pubmed
    ..Similar to other phages, and also herpes viruses, the unique vertex is occupied by a dodecameric portal protein, which is involved in DNA packaging. ..
  36. Vegge C, Brøndsted L, Neve H, Mc Grath S, van Sinderen D, Vogensen F. Structural characterization and assembly of the distal tail structure of the temperate lactococcal bacteriophage TP901-1. J Bacteriol. 2005;187:4187-97 pubmed
    ..In contrast, ORF50 was found to be nonessential for tail assembly and host infection. A model for TP901-1 tail assembly, in which the function of eight specific proteins is considered, is presented...
  37. Scholl D, Kieleczawa J, Kemp P, Rush J, Richardson C, Merril C, et al. Genomic analysis of bacteriophages SP6 and K1-5, an estranged subgroup of the T7 supergroup. J Mol Biol. 2004;335:1151-71 pubmed
  38. Lefebvre B, Comolli N, Gage M, Robinson A. Pressure dissociation studies provide insight into oligomerization competence of temperature-sensitive folding mutants of P22 tailspike. Protein Sci. 2004;13:1538-46 pubmed
    ..Taken together, these results suggest that E196K has a primary defect in formation of the beta-helix during monomer collapse, while G244R is primarily an assembly defect. ..
  39. Schulz E, Schwarzer D, Frank M, Stummeyer K, Muhlenhoff M, Dickmanns A, et al. Structural basis for the recognition and cleavage of polysialic acid by the bacteriophage K1F tailspike protein EndoNF. J Mol Biol. 2010;397:341-51 pubmed publisher
    ..Structural and biochemical data supported by molecular modeling enable to propose a reaction mechanism for polySia cleavage by endoNF. ..
  40. Linderoth N, Julien B, Flick K, Calendar R, Christie G. Molecular cloning and characterization of bacteriophage P2 genes R and S involved in tail completion. Virology. 1994;200:347-59 pubmed
    ..We propose that R and S are tail completion proteins that are essential for stable head joining...
  41. Boulanger P, Jacquot P, Plançon L, Chami M, Engel A, Parquet C, et al. Phage T5 straight tail fiber is a multifunctional protein acting as a tape measure and carrying fusogenic and muralytic activities. J Biol Chem. 2008;283:13556-64 pubmed publisher
    ..The C-terminal region would gain access to the host envelope, permitting the local degradation of the peptidoglycan and the formation of the DNA pore by fusion of the two membranes. ..
  42. Bhardwaj A, Sankhala R, Olia A, Brooke D, Casjens S, Taylor D, et al. Structural Plasticity of the Protein Plug That Traps Newly Packaged Genomes in Podoviridae Virions. J Biol Chem. 2016;291:215-26 pubmed publisher
    ..The conformational plasticity of the tail needle N-terminal tip is built in the amino acid sequence, explaining its extraordinary conservation in nature. ..
  43. Vinga I, Baptista C, Auzat I, Petipas I, Lurz R, Tavares P, et al. Role of bacteriophage SPP1 tail spike protein gp21 on host cell receptor binding and trigger of phage DNA ejection. Mol Microbiol. 2012;83:289-303 pubmed publisher
    ..The gp21 C-terminal region thus plays a central role in two early key events that commit the virus to deliver its genome into host cells...
  44. Waseh S, Hanifi Moghaddam P, Coleman R, Masotti M, Ryan S, Foss M, et al. Orally administered P22 phage tailspike protein reduces salmonella colonization in chickens: prospects of a novel therapy against bacterial infections. PLoS ONE. 2010;5:e13904 pubmed publisher
  45. Arisaka F, Ishimoto L, Kassavetis G, Kumazaki T, Ishii S. Nucleotide sequence of the tail tube structural gene of bacteriophage T4. J Virol. 1988;62:882-6 pubmed
    ..The implication of the two late promoter sequences was examined by an S1 nuclease protection experiment. Both serve as weak promoters, but the bulk of the transcripts arise from further upstream of the two promoters. ..
  46. Suzuki H, Yamada S, Toyama Y, Takeda S. The C-terminal domain is sufficient for host-binding activity of the Mu phage tail-spike protein. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010;1804:1738-42 pubmed publisher
    ..These results indicate that gp45 shows behaviors similar to tail-spike proteins of other phages; however, gp45 did not show significant sequence homology with the other phage tail-spike structures that have been identified. ..
  47. Olia A, Cingolani G. A shifty stop for a hairy tail. Mol Microbiol. 2008;70:549-53 pubmed publisher
    ..1. This finding extends our current knowledge of translational frameshifts and provides a framework to understand how Siphoviridae phages like SPP1 have developed long-tail machines using only two major structural proteins. ..
  48. Kumar Sarkar S, Takeda Y, Kanamaru S, Arisaka F. Association and dissociation of the cell puncturing complex of bacteriophage T4 is controlled by both pH and temperature. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006;1764:1487-92 pubmed
  49. Cingolani G, Andrews D, Casjens S. Crystallogenesis of bacteriophage P22 tail accessory factor gp26 at acidic and neutral pH. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun. 2006;62:477-82 pubmed
    ..These crystals diffract X-rays to beyond 2.0 angstroms resolution. Structural analysis of gp26 crystallized at acidic, neutral and alkaline pH is in progress. ..
  50. Bukovska G, Klucar L, Vlcek C, Adamovic J, Turna J, Timko J. Complete nucleotide sequence and genome analysis of bacteriophage BFK20--a lytic phage of the industrial producer Brevibacterium flavum. Virology. 2006;348:57-71 pubmed
    ..and some regions of Corynebacterium spp. genomes--possible prophages. Our results support the theory that phage genomes are mosaics with respect to each other...
  51. Andrews D, Butler J, Al Bassam J, Joss L, Winn Stapley D, Casjens S, et al. Bacteriophage P22 tail accessory factor GP26 is a long triple-stranded coiled-coil. J Biol Chem. 2005;280:5929-33 pubmed
    ..By analogy with viral trimeric coiled-coil class I membrane fusion proteins, gp26 may represent the membrane-penetrating device used by the phage to pierce the host outer membrane. ..
  52. Ye N, Nemoto N. Processing of the tail lysozyme (gp5) of bacteriophage T4. J Bacteriol. 2004;186:6335-9 pubmed
    ..Ye, S. Takeda, and F. Arisaka, J. Bacteriol. 181:2739-2744). Moreover, the maturation of gp5 is abolished by null mutations in other hub genes, indicating that cleavage requires the interactions of several baseplate proteins. ..
  53. Tu J, Park T, Morado D, Hughes K, Molineux I, Liu J. Dual host specificity of phage SP6 is facilitated by tailspike rotation. Virology. 2017;507:206-215 pubmed publisher
    ..SP6 also infects S. Typhimurium strains lacking O antigen; in these infections tailspikes have no apparent specific role and the phage tail must therefore interact with a distinct host receptor to allow infection. ..