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Prophage vs. Provirus: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Updated on December 20, 2023
A prophage is a bacteriophage DNA integrated into a bacterial genome. A provirus is viral DNA integrated into the genome of a host cell, often in eukaryotic cells.

Key Differences

A prophage is formed when a bacteriophage's DNA is incorporated into a bacterial host's genome. In contrast, a provirus is created when a virus, typically a retrovirus, integrates its DNA into the genome of its host cell, which can be a eukaryotic cell.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023
Prophages specifically exist within bacterial cells as part of the lysogenic cycle of bacteriophages. Provirus, on the other hand, is formed in a broader range of host cells, including animal and human cells, as part of the life cycle of retroviruses like HIV.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023
Prophages can become active, leading to the lytic cycle where new bacteriophages are produced. Provirus DNA can be activated to form new virus particles, which often affects the host cell's normal functions and can lead to diseases like AIDS.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023
Prophages play a role in horizontal gene transfer among bacteria, potentially transferring beneficial or harmful genes. Provirus DNA can alter the genetic makeup of the host cell, sometimes leading to mutations or oncogenesis.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023
Prophage presence can be detected by changes in bacterial behavior or by genetic methods. Similarly, provirus DNA can be detected using molecular techniques, and its presence is significant in the study of viral infections and gene therapy.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Host Organism

Bacterial cells.
Eukaryotic cells, including humans.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Nature of Virus

Bacteriophage DNA.
Retrovirus DNA.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Role in Host

Can transfer genes between bacteria.
Can alter host cell functions.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Activation

Leads to the production of new phages.
Can produce new virus particles.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

Impact on Host

May confer new traits to bacteria.
Can cause diseases or mutations.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023
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Prophage and Provirus Definitions

Prophage

A prophage exists latently in the bacterial host.
The prophage remained inactive in the bacterial cell.
Sara Rehman
Dec 01, 2023

Provirus

A provirus can be transmitted to daughter cells during cell division.
The provirus was passed on during the host cell's replication.
Janet White
Dec 01, 2023

Prophage

Prophage can induce the lysogenic cycle in bacteria.
The prophage entered the lysogenic cycle under specific conditions.
Harlon Moss
Dec 01, 2023

Provirus

A provirus is viral DNA integrated into a eukaryotic host genome.
HIV integrates its genetic material as a provirus in human cells.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Prophage

Prophages contribute to bacterial genetic diversity.
The prophage introduced new genes to the bacterium.
Janet White
Dec 01, 2023

Provirus

Provirus formation is a key step in retroviral replication.
The retrovirus formed a provirus within the host's DNA.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 01, 2023

Prophage

Prophage is bacteriophage DNA integrated into a bacterial genome.
The bacterial strain harbored a prophage within its DNA.
Sara Rehman
Dec 01, 2023

Provirus

Provirus DNA can cause host cell mutations.
The integration of the provirus led to genetic mutations in the cell.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 01, 2023

Prophage

Prophage activation leads to the lytic cycle.
When the prophage activated, it initiated the production of new phages.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 01, 2023

Provirus

Provirus activation can result in viral particle production.
The activation of the provirus triggered the formation of new viruses.
Janet White
Dec 01, 2023

Prophage

The latent form of a bacteriophage in which the viral genes are incorporated into the bacterial chromosomes without causing disruption of the bacterial cell.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Provirus

A form of a virus that allows it to be integrated into the genome of a host cell and to replicate in concert with the cell's genetic material without causing cell lysis.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Prophage

(biology) The latent form of a bacteriophage in which the viral genome is inserted into the host chromosome.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Provirus

(virology) A virus genome, such as HIV, that integrates itself into the DNA of a host cell so as to be passively replicated along with the host genome.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

FAQs

Where is a prophage found?

Prophage is found within bacterial cells.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

What triggers a prophage to enter the lytic cycle?

Environmental stress or certain triggers can activate a prophage's lytic cycle.
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

What is a prophage?

A prophage is a bacteriophage DNA integrated into a bacterial genome.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

What is a provirus?

A provirus is viral DNA integrated into a eukaryotic host cell's genome.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

How does a prophage affect bacteria?

Prophage can alter bacterial characteristics and transfer genes.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

What diseases can be caused by a provirus?

Provirus can lead to diseases like AIDS when associated with HIV.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

What cells contain provirus?

Provirus is found in eukaryotic cells, including human cells.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Can a prophage cause disease?

Prophages themselves don't cause disease but can transfer virulence factors to bacteria.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

How is a provirus formed?

Provirus forms when a retrovirus integrates its DNA into the host cell's genome.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Can a provirus be inherited?

Yes, a provirus can be inherited during cell division.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Do all viruses form prophages?

No, only bacteriophages form prophages in bacteria.
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

Can a provirus affect the host cell's functions?

Yes, a provirus can alter or disrupt normal cellular functions.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

Is a provirus always active?

No, a provirus can remain latent in the host genome for long periods.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

What role does a provirus play in gene therapy?

Provirus mechanisms are studied for potential applications in gene therapy.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

How does a prophage impact bacterial evolution?

Prophages contribute to bacterial evolution through horizontal gene transfer.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

Can a provirus be removed from the genome?

Removing a provirus from the genome is challenging and a focus of ongoing research.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

How is a prophage detected?

Prophage is detected through genetic analysis or observing bacterial behavior.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

Do all viruses form proviruses?

No, mainly retroviruses form proviruses in host cells.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Can a prophage benefit its host bacteria?

Yes, a prophage can confer beneficial traits to its host bacteria.
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

Is a prophage's DNA identical to the original bacteriophage?

Yes, the prophage's DNA is derived from the original bacteriophage's DNA.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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