phage conversiona change in one or more phenotypic characteristics of a host bacterium as a result of infection by a BACTERIOPHAGE, normally a TEMPERATE PHAGE. Some temperate phage carry additional genes, unrelated to LYTIC or lysogenic (see LYSOGENY development, for example genes associated with virulence. When the phage lysogenizes the host expression of these genes can confer new properties on the cell. The production of diphtheria toxin by Cory nebacterium diphtheriae and of botulinum toxin by Clostridium botulinum are examples in which the toxin-encoding gene is present on the temperate phage genome and non-toxin-producing strains are converted to toxin producers upon lysogenization. Also called lysogenic conversion.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005