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Bacteriophage MS2: Wikis


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Bacteriophage MS2
Virus classification
Group: Group IV ((+)ssRNA)
Family: Leviviridae
Genus: Levivirus
Species: Bacteriophage MS2

The bacteriophage MS2 is an icosahedral bacteriophage with a diameter of 27-34 nm and an isoelectric point (pI) of 3.9[1]. MS2 phage can be propagated in Escherichia coli, commonly E. coli ATCC 15597.


This phage has a very small genome which is 3,569 nucleotides long. In 1976 the complete RNA sequence of Bacteriophage MS2 was determined, compared to the DNA sequence of the Phi-X174 phage, which was determined by Fred Sanger and his team in 1977. These two genomes were the first to be determined in scientific history.

In 1962 it was established that the DNA of the phage Phi-X174 is in a ring-structure[2]. In 1972 a gene of Bacteriophage MS2 was the first gene of which the nucleotide sequence was known[3][4]. In 1976, it was the first complete genome to be sequenced, by Walter Fiers and his team at the University of Ghent (Ghent, Belgium)[5][6].

More recently, small stem loops from the genome of the phage have found tremendous utility in the detection of RNA in living cells (see MS2 tagging). The high affinity, sequence-specific interaction between the stem loops and the coat protein serves a means to direct GFP (via fusion to the coat protein) to the RNA. This has been used to image RNA localisation[7] and transcription itself [8][9] (see transcriptional bursting).

See also


  1. ^ Dowd, et al., Delineating the Specific Influence of Virus Isoelectric Point and Size on Virus Adsorption and Transport Through Sandy Soils, AEM, 64:2, 1998
  2. ^ Fiers, W., and R. L. Sinsheimer, The structure of the DNA of bacteriophage PhiX 174. III. Ultracentrifuge evidence for a ring structure, J. Mol. Biol. 5:424-434, 1962
  3. ^ Min Jou W, Haegeman G, Ysebaert M, Fiers W., Nucleotide sequence of the gene coding for the bacteriophage MS2 coat protein, Nature. 1972 May 12;237(5350):82-8
  4. ^ Fiers W, Contreras R, Duerinck F, Haegmean G, Merregaert J, Jou WM, Raeymakers A, Volckaert G, Ysebaert M, Van de Kerckhove J, Nolf F, Van Montagu M., A-protein gene of bacteriophage MS2, Nature. 1975 Jul 24;256(5515):273-8
  5. ^ Fiers W, Contreras R, De Wachter R, Haegeman G, Merregaert J, Jou WM, Vandenberghe A., Recent progress in the sequence determination of bacteriophage MS2 RNA, Biochimie. 1971;53(4):495-506
  6. ^ Fiers W, Contreras R, Duerinck F, Haegeman G, Iserentant D, Merregaert J, Min Jou W, Molemans F, Raeymaekers A, Van den Berghe A, Volckaert G, Ysebaert M., Complete nucleotide sequence of bacteriophage MS2 RNA: primary and secondary structure of the replicase gene, Nature. 1976 Apr 8;260(5551):500-7.
  7. ^ E. Bertrand, P. Chartrand, M. Schaefer, S.M. Shenoy, R.H. Singer and R.M. Long, Mol Cell 2 (1998) 437-45.
  8. ^ Chubb, J. R., Trcek, T., Shenoy, S. M., and Singer, R. H. (2006b). Transcriptional pulsing of a developmental gene. Curr Biol 16, 1018-1025.
  9. ^ I. Golding, J. Paulsson, S.M. Zawilski and E.C. Cox, Cell 123 (2005) 1025-1036.


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