PICI thieves: Molecular piracy and cooperation

Amelia K. Schmidt, Dominick R. Faith, Patrick R. Secor

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


Phage-inducible chromosomal islands (PICIs) steal structural proteins from helper phages. In two related studies, Penadés and coworkers reveal that PICIs are not parasites but mutualists. Some PICIs mobilize defense systems that restrict niche competitors, while other PICIs encode their own capsids and steal helper phage tails without affecting their fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-5
Number of pages3
JournalCell Host and Microbe
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 11 2023


  • Genomic Islands
  • Bacteriophages/genetics
  • Capsid


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