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This content will become publicly available on August 11, 2023

Title: Architecture and self-assembly of the jumbo bacteriophage nuclear shell
Abstract Bacteria encode myriad defences that target the genomes of infecting bacteriophage, including restriction–modification and CRISPR–Cas systems 1 . In response, one family of large bacteriophages uses a nucleus-like compartment to protect its replicating genomes by excluding host defence factors 2–4 . However, the principal composition and structure of this compartment remain unknown. Here we find that the bacteriophage nuclear shell assembles primarily from one protein, which we name chimallin (ChmA). Combining cryo-electron tomography of nuclear shells in bacteriophage-infected cells and cryo-electron microscopy of a minimal chimallin compartment in vitro, we show that chimallin self-assembles as a flexible sheet into closed micrometre-scale compartments. The architecture and assembly dynamics of the chimallin shell suggest mechanisms for its nucleation and growth, and its role as a scaffold for phage-encoded factors mediating macromolecular transport, cytoskeletal interactions, and viral maturation.
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429 to 435
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National Science Foundation
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