All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Terje Dokland

Advisory Committee Members

Gail E Christie

Peter E Prevelige

Jamil S Saad

Janet Yother

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Heersink School of Medicine


Bacteriophage can mediate the transfer of unrelated mobile genetic elements (MGE) from a carrier bacterial cell to the susceptible population around it. This transfer results in the spread of virulence or other accessory genes encoded on the MGE. During viral particle assembly, the MGE can discourage the formation of viable bacteriophage progeny by limiting the size of the particles to those large enough to encapsidate the MGE, but too small to fit the complete bacteriophage genome which is three times larger. Here, I present models for size determination by an external scaffolding protein which is independent of and dominant over the native bacteriophage scaffold, and for size determination by a pair of internal scaffolding proteins which function in combination with each other and with the native bacteriophage scaffold. Finally, I show distinct patterns of size determination in closely related paradigms.