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!
Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München
Biological signalling processes in intelligent materials
18.07.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Information Technology