Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Bacteriophage Ecology Group Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Lytic Infection


A phage infection that destroys – i.e. lyses – its host cell at the end of its latent period to release intracellular phage progeny.

Contrast lytic infection with lysogenic infection, which do not end in release unless the lysogenic infection/lysogenic cycle is exited. Contrast also with the infectious cycle associated with chronic infections which do end in release but not in lysis. Alternatively, a lytic infection is somewhat equivalent to lytic cycle.

A lytic infection either does or does not follow a lysogenic infection, depending on phage as well as circumstances. To distinguish these two possibilities, one can employ the terms "induced lytic infection" and "immediate lytic infection", respectively. (Or, alternatively, "induced lytic cycle" and "immediate lytic cycle".) Just as with the concept of lytic cycle, the ambiguity that comes with the idea of a lytic infection stems from how those infections begin, i.e., following induction versus following adsorption. Therefore, if there is any potential for confusion then then the concept should be qualified, such as in terms of "induced" versus "immediate".


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