Can Changes in Temperature or Ionic Conditions Modify the DNA Organization in the Full Bacteriophage Capsid?

We compared four bacteriophage species, T5, λ, T7, and Φ29, to explore the possibilities of DNA reorganization in the capsid where the chain is highly concentrated and confined. We did not detect any change in DNA organization as a function of temperature between 20 and 40 °C. The presence of spermine (4+) induces a significant enlargement of the typical size of the hexagonal domains in all phages. We interpret these changes as a reorganization of DNA by movements of defects in the structure, triggered by a partial screening of repulsive interactions.

J. Phys. Chem. B 2016, DOI : 10.1021/acs.jpcb.6b01783