The biological activity of heads of bacteriophages phi 80 and lambda in in vitro assembly with tails was inhibited by dialysis, filtration on gels, and treatment with tryptamine. Inhibition by these three treatments could be prevented but not reversed by putrescine. Other diamines with shorter or longer carbon chain lengths were either less effective or not effective at all. It is suggested that tryptamine acts by loosening the tightly packed DNA in heads, whereas putrescine stabilizes it
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