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Lytic cycle example: T4 phage

The lytic cycle is the most common type of viral replication. It results in the lysis (splitting apart) of the host cell.

The T4 phage, which infects E. coli, is able to replicate via the lytic cycle but not through the lysogenic cycle.

The lifecycle occurs in the following steps:

  1. Entry: The bacteriophage attaches to the outside of the bacterial cell and injects its genetic material. Only the bacteriophage's genetic material enters the cell.
  2. Replication: Once inside the cell, the viral DNA replicates and the proteins that make up the capsid are synthesised. New bacteriophages assemble inside the cell.
  3. Exit: The new bacteriophages break out of the cell, destroying it in the process.