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!
Tissue-engineered colon from human cells develop different types of neurons
02.10.2015 | Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Big eyes! – MDC Researchers Identify Cause of Inherited Form of Extreme Nearsightedness
02.10.2015 | Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will present how laser-based technologies can contribute to the laboratory of the future at the LABVOLUTION in Hannover in Hall 9, Stand E67/09, from October 6th to 8th, 2015. As a part of the model lab smartLAB, the LZH is showing how additive manufacturing, better known as 3-D printing, can make experimental setups more flexible.
Twelve partners from science and industry are presenting an intelligent and innovative model lab at the special display smartLAB. A part of this intelligent...
Before embarking on a transcontinental journey, jet airplanes fill up with tens of thousands of gallons of fuel. In the event of a crash, such large quantities of fuel increase the severity of an explosion upon impact.
Researchers at Caltech and JPL have discovered a polymeric fuel additive that can reduce the intensity of postimpact explosions that occur during accidents and...
When surgical residents need to practice a complicated procedure to fashion a new ear for children without one, they typically get a bar of soap, carrot or an apple.
To treat children with a missing or under-developed ear, experienced surgeons harvest pieces of rib cartilage from the child and carve them into the framework...
Walking an obstacle course on Earth is relatively easy. Walking an obstacle course on Earth after being in space for six months is not quite as simple. The...
01.10.2015 | Event News
30.09.2015 | Event News
17.09.2015 | Event News
02.10.2015 | Medical Engineering
02.10.2015 | Materials Sciences
02.10.2015 | Trade Fair News