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October, 2006
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Bacterial Signaling

JoVE 10713

At times, a group of bacteria behaves like a community. To achieve this, they engage in quorum sensing, the perception of higher cell density that results in a shift in gene expression. Quorum sensing involves both extracellular and intracellular signaling. The signaling cascade starts with a molecule called an autoinducer (AI). Individual bacteria produce AIs that move out of the bacterial cell membrane into the extracellular space. AIs can move passively along a concentration gradient out of the cell, or be actively transported across the bacterial membrane. When cell density in the bacterial populations is low, the AIs diffuse away from the bacteria, keeping the environmental concentration of AIs low. As bacteria reproduce and continue to excrete AIs, the concentration of AIs increases, eventually reaching a threshold concentration. This threshold permits AIs to bind membrane receptors on the bacteria, triggering changes in gene expression across the whole bacterial community. Many bacteria are broadly classified as gram positive or gram negative. These terms refer to the color that the bacteria take on when treated with a series of staining solutions which were developed by Hans Christian Joachim Gram over a century ago. If bacteria pick up a purple color, they are gram-positive; if they look red, they are gram-negative. These stain colors are pic

 Core: Biology

Bacterial Transformation- Concept

JoVE 10573


In early 20th century, pneumonia was accountable for a large portion of infectious disease deaths1. In order to develop an effective vaccine against pneumonia, Frederick Griffith set out to study two different strains of the Streptococcus pneumoniae: a non-virulent strain with a rough appearance (R-strain) and a virulent strain with a smooth appearance…

 Lab Bio

Bacterial Transformation - Student Protocol

JoVE 10574

Bacterial Transformation
IMPORTANT: In addition to wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment, be sure to take care to keep your face away from suspension cultures, and to avoid inhaling reagents. Do not touch your face while performing the experiment. Always wash your hands before and after every experiment.
When you…

 Lab Bio

16S rRNA Sequencing: A PCR-based Technique to Identify Bacterial Species

JoVE 10510

Source: Ewa Bukowska-Faniband1, Tilde Andersson1, Rolf Lood1
1 Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Division of Infection Medicine, Biomedical Center, Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden

Planet Earth is a habitat for millions of bacterial species, each of which has specific characteristics. Identification of bacterial species is…


Bacterial Transformation: The Heat Shock Method

JoVE 5059

Transformation is the process that occurs when a cell ingests foreign DNA from its surroundings. Transformation can occur in nature in certain types of bacteria. In molecular biology, transformation is artificially reproduced in the lab via the creation of pores in bacterial cell membranes. Bacterial cells that are able to take up DNA from the environment are called competent cells. In the…

 Basic Methods in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Bacterial Transformation

JoVE 10982

In 1928, bacteriologist Frederick Griffith worked on a vaccine for pneumonia, which is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. Griffith studied two pneumonia strains in mice: one pathogenic and one non-pathogenic. Only the pathogenic strain killed host mice.

Griffith made an unexpected discovery when he killed the pathogenic strain and mixed its remains with the live, non-pathogenic strain. Not only did the mixture kill host mice, but it also contained living pathogenic bacteria that produced pathogenic offspring. Griffith concluded that the non-pathogenic strain received something from the dead pathogenic strain that transformed it into the pathogenic strain; he called this the transforming principle. At the time of Griffith’s studies, there was heated debate surrounding the identity of the genetic material. Much early evidence implicated proteins as the hereditary molecules. Griffith’s experiments on bacterial transformation provided some of the earliest data demonstrating that DNA is the genetic material. Bacteria incorporate external DNA through transformation. Transformation occurs naturally but is also induced in laboratories—often to clone DNA. To clone a specific gene, scientists can insert the gene into a plasmid, a circular DNA molecule that can independently replicate. The plasmid often contains an antib

 Core: Biology

Bacterial Growth Curve Analysis and its Environmental Applications

JoVE 10100

Source: Laboratories of Dr. Ian Pepper and Dr. Charles Gerba - Arizona University
Demonstrating Author: Luisa Ikner

Bacteria are among the most abundant life forms on Earth. They are found in every ecosystem and are vital for everyday life. For example, bacteria affect what people eat, drink, and breathe, and there are actually more…

 Environmental Microbiology

Bacterial Transformation: Electroporation

JoVE 5060

The term “transformation” refers cellular ingestion of foreign DNA. In nature, transformation can occur in certain types of bacteria. In molecular biology, however, transformation is artificially induced through the creation of pores in the bacterial cell walls. Bacterial cells that are able to take up DNA from the environment are called competent cells. Electrocompetent…

 Basic Methods in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Antibiotic Selection

JoVE 10807

Researchers use antibiotic resistance genes to identify bacteria that possess a plasmid containing their gene of interest. Antibiotic resistance naturally occurs when a spontaneous DNA mutation creates changes in bacterial genes that eliminate antibiotic activity. Bacteria can share these new resistance genes with their offspring and other bacteria. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics have created a public health crisis, as resistant and multi-resistant bacteria continue to develop. Antibiotics, such as penicillin, are drugs that kill or stop bacterial growth. Bacteria that naturally or artificially acquired antibiotic resistance genes do not respond to antibiotics. Scientists exploit this by designing plasmids—small, self-replicating pieces of DNA—that carry both an antibiotic resistance gene and a gene of interest. Antibiotic resistance is an integral part of DNA cloning that allows a researcher to identify cells that absorbed a DNA of interest. The researcher’s DNA of interest is introduced into bacterial cells using a process called transformation. Bacterial transformation involves temporarily creating small holes in the bacterial cell wall to permit the uptake of external DNA such as a plasmid. Only some bacterial cells absorb new DNA. Since the plasmid includes both the DNA of interest and a gene that confers resistance to a spe

 Core: Biology
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