While phage lysin has long been suspected of having an important part in phage lysis it has taken techniques using molecular biology to clarify its in vivo role.


For many phages, their release from the infected cell has been shown to require the action of two phage-encoded proteins. The first protein is called holin; this is a small transmembrane protein that creates lesions or 'holes' in the cell-wall membrane. These lesions function as pores or holes and allow the passage of a second protein, phage lysin through the cell membrane and access to the cell wall. Holin production is essential since it is only when pores have been created in the cytoplasmic membrane that phage lysins can reach their substrate and lyse the cell wall. There have been very considerable developments in both the molecular biology and biochemistry of phage release-see reviews by Gasson (1996) and Sable and Lortal (1995).

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Mullan, W.M.A. (2003) . [On-line]. Available from: https://www.dairyscience.info/index.php/bacteriophage-lysins/role-of-phage-lysin-in-intracellular-phage-release.html . Accessed: 24 February, 2024.