Using Harpoon-Like Appendages, Bacteria ‘Fish’ for brand new DNA

Seeing how microbes snatch brand new genetic material by their environment could help inside the fight against antibiotic resistance.

Two bacteria are sitting near free-floating DNA. Suddenly, one bacterium shoots out a long appendage, latches onto a DNA fragment along with reels in its catch. which happens fast, however which’s clear: This particular organism had just gone fishing.

Biologists at Indiana University recently captured This particular maneuver on camera for the 1st time.

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CreditIndiana University

“which’s exactly the kind of environment various other bacteria would likely be latching onto,” along with therefore a Great site for DNA swapping, Dr. Dalia said.

When the researchers induced This particular behavior inside the lab, they were able to discern brand new details about how V. cholerae latch onto DNA at the tip of their pili, fold along with thread the DNA through a tiny surface pore along with then pull which into their bodies using a special ratcheting mechanism.

Pili in V. cholerae can stretch about as far as the length of the bacteria. The organisms make one or two pili a minute, extending along with retracting the appendages with proteins which quickly build the pili up along with then tear them back down.

Earlier reporting on what’s happening at the cellular level

The study is actually a reminder which even single-celled organisms can operate in sophisticated ways.

These bacteria are actually acting “like fishermen,” Ms. Ellison said.

Her team believes many aspects of This particular maneuver are shared among various other microbes, though more studies are needed. Eventually, the work could lead to brand new strategies for fighting antibiotic resistance.