The opportunity to annotate the genome of the glow-in-the-dark bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, which lives in symbiotic harmony within the light organ of the bobtail squid, has helped a Virginia Tech microbiologist advance her research on quorum sensing, or how cells communicate and function as a community.
Researchers studying the newly sequenced genome of the marine bacterium V. fischeri, described this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), have so far observed both differences and similarities in gene arrangement between it and pathogenic Vibrio species. V. fischeri has a lower GC content than other sequenced Vibrio species, but it is still more closely related to them than other organisms. (Among the four nucleotides that make up DNA – adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine (ATGC) – A pairs with T and G pairs with C. The more GC content, the more tightly DNA strands bind.)
Despite the fact that it is a symbiont, V. fischers genome contains genes that may have toxin activity. "Analysis of this sequence has revealed surprising parallels with Vibrio cholerae and other pathogens," said Ann Stevens, associate professor of biology at Virginia Tech.
Susan Trulove | EurekAlert!
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