The T4 Bacteriophage is my most popular shirt. It is a virus that only infects bacteria. Specifically, the T4 Phage only attacks the E. coli bacterium.
Once the phage finds its way to a bacterium, it binds to the bacterial cell wall via certain receptors, latching on to its surface with its tail fibers, those spider-like “legs”. Then, it uses its hypodermic needle-like injector to pump its own nucleic acids into the e. coli bacterium- a stage called penetration. Subsequently, the phage takes over the machinery of the e. coli, causing the bacterium to mistakenly copy the viral DNA instead of its own. This results in the reproduction of phages inside of the bacterium, and when there are too many phages for the e. coli cell to contain, it bursts open, freeing the newly created viruses to find more bacteria to infect. This form of viral reproduction is known as the lytic cycle, an infection that results in host death. Pretty wild, huh? Who knew that bacteria had to worry about getting infected, too?
Definitely one of the coolest and scariest looking viruses out there, this phage shirt is a great conversation starter for scientists and non-science folk alike.
Teal print on a premium, fitted, 100% cotton Bella+Canvas Black shirt. Available in both Men’s and Women’s sizes.