Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Bacteriophage Ecology Group Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Lateral Tail Fiber (LTF)


Synonymous with long tail fiber, a long, thin, proteinaceous appendage to phage tails that is found in multiple copies and is involved in the first, typically reversible steps of phage attachment to bacteria.

Copy numbers range from 3 to 6 (not including 5) per virion.

From From Gill and Young (2011), p. 402, "Most Caudovirales encode LTFs, which are generally long and flexible and bind to a specific receptor on the surface of the host cell. LTFs are usually attached to the top of the conical tail tip assembly of siphophages and to the base-plate of myophages, and in some podophages, to the top of the 'stubby' tail. LTFs are assembled by trimerization of protomers, generally catalysed by a specific tail fibre-assembly chaperone which, in some cases, remains associated with the mature tail fibre. In some phages, the entire LTF is composed of a single tail fibre protein, with the N-terminal domains involved in binding to the virion and the receptor-binding domain located at the distal (C-terminus). In more complex phages, like T4, the LTFs are composed of multiple proteins. LTFs have at least one 'knee', where the LTF is bent. It is thought that individual LTFs bind and release rapidly, allowing the virion to 'walk' around the surface of the cell, until irreversible adsorption occurs."


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