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Howard Shuman

Dear Merry,

As one of the authors of the paper you cite to show uniform distribution of lambda particles on E. coli (the first image above), I would encourage you to have a closer look at some of the other figures in the same article (eg 5 and 6). Antoinette Ryter painstakingly counted the lambda particles on many, many cells at different times following induction of LamB. She found as did later studies that the majority of particles are distributed at one cell pole. Uniform distributions were observed only following complete induction and at high moi. Perhaps not identical results but not so different after all.

Best regards,

Howard Shuman

Merry replies: Thank you for your thoughts here, Howard. I especially appreciate hearing from someone who was there. I am glad that you pointed out that Antoinette Ryter, the source of that image, also found preferential adsorption at the poles. I chose to display that particular image because it has become a classic that has contributed to the image many have in mind of E. coli cells with lambdas attached all over them. As I noted in the next paragraph, this image was obtained with a very high MOI (though I did not note full induction) and thus obscures the preferential binding at the poles. Taking a step back, I would add that we are fortunate that tools are now available that enable researchers to follow-up on enigmatic observations made much earlier.

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