Kathryn Jones and Elizabeth Stroupe, both assistant professors in the Department of Biological Science, have deconstructed a type of virus called a bacteriophage, which infects bacteria. Their work will help researchers in the future have a better understanding of how the virus invades and impacts bacteria, and could be particularly useful for the agriculture industry.
"It turns out there are a lot of novel things about it," Jones said.
Until now, there was little known about this particular bacteriophage, called the ?M12, which infects a nitrogen-fixing bacterium called Sinorhizobium meliloti.
Jones focused on the sequencing the DNA of ?M12 and analyzing its evolutionary context, while Stroupe looked at its overall physical structure.
"The bacteriophage is really just a tool for studying the bacterium," Stroupe said. "No one thought to sequence it before."
That tool, Stroupe said, will give scientists more insight into the basic functions of the ?M12 bacteriophage. ?M12 is the first reported bacteriophage to have its particular combination of DNA sequences and the particular shape of its protein shell. Understanding both the DNA and structure can provide an understanding of the proteins a bacteriophage produces and how it chooses the bacteria it invades.
In the case of ?M12, this could be particularly useful in the future for the agriculture community and seed companies. Important crop plants depend on biological nitrogen fixation by the bacteria that is preyed upon by this phage. Nitrogen fixation is the process by which abundant nitrogen gas in the atmosphere is converted to the scarce soil resources ammonia and nitrate.
Jones and Stroupe's work, divided into two articles, will be featured on the cover of Virology. One, authored primarily by Jones and an undergraduate honors thesis student, Tess Brewer, focuses on the genetic makeup of the virus, while the other by Stroupe and colleagues, examines the physical structure.
Kathleen Haughney | EurekAlert!
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy