Editor’s Selections: Crowdsourcing enzyme design, gene transfer induced by pathogenic gut microbes, and novel mechanisms of lateral gene transfer in bacteria

Editor's Selections 14 Comments
By Vincent Racaniello

Vincent RacanielloVincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He unravels viruses at virology blog.

<img title=”Vincent Racaniello” src=”http://researchblogging.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/smallvincent.jpg” alt=”Vincent Racaniello” width=”47″ height=”47″ />Vincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He writes about viruses at <a href=”http://www.virology.ws” target=”_blank”>virology blog</a>.
  • The vision of protein design is to come up with a way to make enzymes that will perform novel chemistry. It has been suggested that the design process could be improved by crowdsourcing certain parts of the problem to gamers.
  • The bacteria that make up the human gut microbiota engage in high levels of horizontal gene transfer. In one study, the high rate of transfer between E. coli and Salmonella two species was dependent on inflammation caused by the latter bacteria.
  • Lateral gene transfer (LGT) facilitates the emergence and spread of bacterial virulence and antibiotic resistance. To the three classical mechanisms of LGT (transformation, transduction, and conjugation), we now add three other mechanisms by which DNA can be transferred between bacteria: gene transfer agents, membrane vesicles, and intercellular nanotubes.

I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.

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