Letter | Published:

Salt-dependent bacteriophage infecting Halobacterium cutirubrum and H. halobium



MOST molecular genetic mechanisms are sensitive to ionic strength. The isolation of phage for Halobacterium allows a study of genetic adaptation in the extremes of ionic strength. The usual requirement for low ion concentrations is reversed in Halobacterium which maintains intracellular KC1 near saturation1. As a result, macromolecular structure may be altered sufficiently to favour genetic mechanisms that occur rarely or not at all in other organisms. The presence of a unique DNA density distribution2 and RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase3 in Halobacterium suggests that such alterations occur.

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