T phage?

Russell A. Maurer ram3 at po.CWRU.Edu
Mon Sep 20 15:31:02 EST 1993

In a previous article, ralston at ROCKVAX.ROCKEFELLER.EDU () says:

>I have recently purchased a tobacco genomic library, which
>when plated gives rise to 1-5 large plaques per 50,000
>lambda plaques.  These large plaques are evident hours
>before (>6 h) the lambda plaques and grow in size to 4-5 mm
>by 9 hours.
>Others in our lab suggest that these may be T phage and that
>T phage get absolutely everywhere.  So, ...
>1)  Anyone out there ever see this with Clontech libraries
>        before?  They told me that it has happend in the past.
>2)  Is it definately T phage?
>3)  Are T phage really as horrible as I've heard?
>4)  Dare I make filters from the plated library (I am also
>        screening a cDNA library, which I definately don't
>        want to contaminate)?
>5)  If it is T phage, how can I get rid of it? 
>Thanks in advance,
>Diana Horvath
>ralston at rockvax.rockefeller.edu
I'll echo the comments of others and add a thing or two of my own.  Yes,
there are T1-resistant mutants, at least two loci: tonA and tonB.  C600 and
its derivatives are but one famous T1-resistant family.  Does anyone
besides me remember that Luria & Delbruck's fluctuation experiment involved
the counting of T1-resistant mutants???  What a great topic for the 50th
anniversary of a great experiment!

We had a T1 contamination when I was a student.  To counter it, we mounted
a UV bulb somewhere in the room, shielded from below (i.e., so it shined
upwards, away from people and experiments).  We left it on all the time. 
As the dust floated past the light, the adsorbed T1 would be inactivated. 
I have no idea whether this was environmentally responsible, or effective,
but the contamination eventually subsided.

The story that I was told was that a researcher once requested some T1 and
received a letter, politely refusing the request.  However, the recipient
was easily able to elute some phage from the envelope (or stationery).  Can
anyone fill in the details?

Russ Maurer

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