Differences in the Chemical Composition of the Phage Nucleic Acids


IT has been known for some time that the nucleic acids of the coli-dysentery phages, T 2, T 4 and T 6, contain hydroxymethylcytosine and that the composition of their purine and pyrimidine bases is essentially identical1. More recently it was found in this laboratory that a hexose is present in T 4 phage2. This sugar was identified as glucose and was shown to be a constituent of the viral nucleic acid3. It was afterwards demonstrated that T 2 and T 6 nucleic acids also contain glucose and that enzymatic hydrolysates of T 2 and T 4 nucleic acids contain small quantities of the glucoside of hydroxy methylcytidylic acid4,5. In the present communication it will be shown that the nucleic acids of T 2, T 4 and T 6 phages differ in their content of glucose and that this hexose is attached to the acid-resistant part of nucleic acid, the apurinic acid.

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    Jesaitis, M. A., Microbial Genetics Bull., No. 10, 16 (1954). Carnegie Institution of Washington, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.

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