The Great Escape

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Science  22 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5525, pp. 2263-2264
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062957

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How do bacteriophages (viruses that parasitize bacteria) escape from their bacterial hosts once they have replicated? In a Perspective, Hatfull discusses new work ( Bernhardt et al.), which reveals that certain bacteriophages are able to block enzymes that synthesize precursors of murein, a crucial component of the bacterial wall. Weaknesses in the bacterial wall due to the murein deficit result in lysis of the bacteria and release of phage progeny.