Chapter 4: Microbial Diversity, Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes


Chapter 4 Microbial Diversity Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes
Primary Objectives of This Chapter
Chapter 4 introduces acellular microbes (viruses, viroids, and prions) and procaryotic microbes (bacteria and archaea). Photosynthetic bacteria and unique bacteria (e.g., rickettsias, chlamydias, mycoplasmas, and especially large and especially small bacteria) are discussed in this chapter. The information in Chapter 4 is considered essential in an introductory microbiology course.

Terms Introduced in This Chapter
After reading Chapter 4, you should be familiar with the following terms. These terms are defined in Chapter 4 and in the Glossary. Acid-fast stain Aerotolerant anaerobe Anaerobe Anoxygenic photosynthesis Bacteriophage Capnophile Capsid Capsomeres Coccobacillus Differential staining procedures Diplobacilli Diplococci Facultative anaerobe Gram stain Inclusion bodies Lytic cycle Microaerophiles Mimivirus Nanobacteria Nitrogen-fixation Obligate aerobe Obligate anaerobe Octad Oncogenic Oncogenic viruses

known as a capsid. presence or absence of an envelope. The simplest of human viruses consists of nothing more than nucleic acid surrounded by a protein coat. and temperate bacteriophages. The cellular microorganisms can be divided into those that are procaryotic and those that are eucaryotic. The capsid plus the enclosed nucleic acid are referred to as the nucleocapsid. type of disease they cause. which change the host cell genetically. and fungi) and those that are acellular (viruses. algae. Except in extremely rare cases. which cause destruction (lysis) of the host cell. Once it enters a host cell. a virulent bacteriophage always initiates the lytic cycle. type of host(s) and host cell(s) they infect. There are two categories of bacteriophages: virulent bacteriophages. shape of the capsid. and antigenic properties. They are so small that they can be seen only by using electron microscopes. Viruses can be classified by their type of nucleic acid. and prions). Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes 2 Oxygenic photosynthesis Pleomorphism Prions Simple stain Staphylococci Streptobacilli Streptococci Structural staining procedures Temperate bacteriophage Tetrad Vectors Virion Viroids Virulent bacteriophage Review of Key Points  Microbes can be divided into those that are cellular (bacteria. assembly. Complete virus particles are called virions. Acellular microbes are sometimes referred to as infectious particles. Viruses are not living organisms. and nucleic acid. protozoa. and release. viruses must invade host cells. biosynthesis. Bacteriophages can only attach to bacteria that possess surface molecules (receptors) that can be recognized by molecules on the phage surface. penetration. viroids. To replicate. viruses possess either DNA or RNA—never both. They lack the enzymes necessary for the production of energy.Chapter 4: Microbial Diversity. number of capsomeres. The five steps in the lytic cycle are attachment. proteins.          . which results in the destruction of the cell. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. size of the capsid.

Like bacteriophages. temperate bacteriophages do not immediately initiate the lytic cycle. basic cell shape. Their DNA can remain integrated into the host cell’s chromosome for generation after generation. and release. chains (streptococci). on the other hand. single stranded RNA virus known as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Bacteria reproduce by binary fission. assembly. The time it takes for one bacterial cell to split into two cells is referred to as that organism’s generation time. or they may be branched or filamentous. animal viruses can only attach to and invade cells bearing appropriate surface receptors. Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes 3                    Unlike virulent bacteriophages. consistency. The highly publicized “mad cow disease” is an example of a prion-caused disease. Curved bacteria may occur singly. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by an enveloped. A bacterium’s Gram reaction. clusters (staphylococci). it ends up being pink to red. Bacilli occur singly. . penetration. and morphological arrangement are very important clues to its identification. elevation. Viruses that cause cancer are known as oncogenic viruses or oncoviruses. Viroids are infectious RNA molecules that cause a variety of plant diseases. The three general shapes of bacteria are cocci. or in chains (streptobacilli). Spiral-shaped bacteria usually occur singly. Bacterial smears must be fixed before staining. Prions are infectious protein molecules that cause a variety of animal and human diseases. There are six steps in the multiplication of animal viruses: attachment. and anchor the smear to the slide. Bacterial colony morphology includes size. preserve their morphology. or packets of four (tetrads) or eight (octads). If. bacilli. Cocci occur singly or in pairs (diplococci). biosynthesis. Very short bacilli are called coccobacilli. Drugs used to treat viral infections are called antiviral agents. The two most common types of fixation are heat-fixation and methanol-fixation. it is said to be Gram positive. in pairs (diplobacilli). it is said to be Gram negative. the latter technique is preferred. uncoating. and the appearance of the margin of the colony. Animal viruses escape from their host cells either by lysis of the cell or budding. and curved or spiral-shaped. A pile or mound of bacteria on the surface of a solid culture medium is referred to as a colony. Viruses that escape by budding become enveloped viruses. A bacterial species having cells of different shapes is said to be pleomorphic. or in pairs or chains. The fixation process serves to kill the organisms. color. it contains millions of bacterial cells. overall shape. If a bacterium is blue to purple at the end of the Gram staining procedure.Chapter 4: Microbial Diversity. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections.

and nitrogen for growth. All bacteria need some form of the elements carbon. Extremely tiny bacteria (less than 1 µm in diameter). Mycoplasmas differ from other bacteria in that they have no cell walls. many of them live in extreme environments.Chapter 4: Microbial Diversity. arterial plaque. Certain bacteria. Obligate aerobes and microaerophiles require oxygen. . Fastidious (nutritionally demanding) microbes may require additional vitamins. a microaerophile. an aerotolerant anaerobe. this type of photosynthesis is known as oxygenic photosynthesis. manganese. exotoxins. hydrogen. or an obligate anaerobe. and even rocks (meteorites) of extraterrestrial origin. a bacterial isolate can be classified as an obligate aerobe. although both archaea and bacteria are procaryotic. chlamydias. human and animal blood. and facultative anaerobes can thrive in atmospheres devoid of oxygen. capsules. Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes 4             The acid-fast stain is of value in the diagnosis of tuberculosis. For optimum growth in the laboratory. amphitrichous. Pathogenic bacteria may produce pili. lophotrichous. Rickettsias and chlamydias are unique because they are obligate intracellular pathogens. phosphorus. and some (called methanogens) produce methane. Bacteria requiring increased concentrations of carbon dioxide are called capnophiles. Archaea differ from bacteria in several ways: they possess a different type of rRNA. Microaerophiles require reduced oxygen concentrations (usually around 5% oxygen). have been found in soil. sulfur. and exoenzymes that enable them to cause disease. copper. produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. In addition. are photosynthetic. Rickettsias. including cyanobacteria. human dental calculus (plaque). aerotolerant anaerobes. certain bacteria require potassium. Obligate anaerobes. ocean water. oxygen. Some photosynthetic bacteria. archaea are more closely related to eucaryotic organisms than to bacteria. their cell walls contain no peptidoglycan. Acid-fast bacteria are red at the end of the acid-fast staining procedure. iron. a facultative anaerobe. Most motile bacteria possess whiplike structures called flagella. and uranium. called nanobacteria. and mycoplasmas are rudimentary Gram-negative bacteria. and other organic compounds. calcium. endotoxin. Obligate aerobes require an atmosphere containing about 20% to 21% oxygen. including a group of bacteria referred to as cyanobacteria. amino acids. minerals. zinc. capnophiles require an atmosphere containing 5% to 10% carbon dioxide. and peritrichous are used to describe the number and location of flagella on the bacterial cell. magnesium. On the basis of its oxygen requirements. Genetically. cobalt. The terms monotrichous.

It is a progressive neurologic disorder of cattle that results from infection by an unconventional transmissible agent.Chapter 4: Microbial Diversity. a duration of illness of at least 6 months. he wrote that “animalcules developed although the contained air must have been in minimal quantity.” [Leeuwenhoek used the term “animalcules” to refer to the tiny organisms that he observed. 207 cases of vCJD had been diagnosed worldwide. dementia and myoclonus (clonic spasm or twitching of a muscle or group of muscles) late in the illness.” But. These include ataxia (an inability to coordinate the muscles in the execution of voluntary movement) within weeks or months.] Lazzaro Spallanzani. performed similar experiments in the latter half of the 18th century. using the simple. an Italian scientist. The cattle may have acquired the disease through ingestion of cattle feed that contained ground-up parts of prion-infected sheep. which he made. There is strong epidemiologic and laboratory evidence for a causal association between BSE and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) of humans. you may overhear someone erroneously state that “Life is impossible there (perhaps referring to one of the planets) because there isn’t any oxygen. including 164 in the United Kingdom. you’ll know differently! You’ll be able to point out that life is indeed possible in the absence of oxygen. He drew the air from microbe-containing glass tubes. Furthermore. (Kuru is described in Chapter 4 in the book. in the United Kingdom. fully expecting the . with prominent psychiatric or sensory symptoms at the time of clinical presentation and delayed onset of neurologic abnormalities. numerous kuru-type amyloid plaques surrounded by vacuoles and prion protein accumulation at high concentration indicated by immunohistochemical analysis. the new variant form in the United Kingdom predominantly affects younger persons. single lens microscopes. and a 19th-century scientist. It has atypical clinical features. these cases probably resulted from eating prion-infected beef. In contrast to the classic form of CJD. Each of them made scientific observations that contributed to our present knowledge and understanding of anaerobes. In a letter to the Royal Society of London. in both the cerebellum and cerebrum. an 18th-century scientist. and a diffusely abnormal nondiagnostic electroencephalogram. But. The scientific name for what the press calls “mad cow disease” is bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). As of December 2008. you’ll be able to explain that organisms capable of life in the absence of oxygen are called anaerobes. The most accepted theory is that the agent is a modified form of an abnormal cell surface component known as a prion protein. who discovered anaerobes? The credit for discovering anaerobes can be given to three scientists: a 17th-century scientist. Life in the Absence of Oxygen Someday. The characteristic neuropathologic profile of vCJD includes. In 1680. Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes 5 Insight Microbes in the News—“Mad Cow Disease” The disease known to most people as “mad cow disease” has received a great deal of publicity during recent years and has led to the slaughter of millions of cows. Anton van Leeuwenhoek performed an experiment using pepper and sealed glass tubes. primarily in the United Kingdom.) Variant CJD was first reported in 1996.

View the following YouTube video on bacterial morphology and how bacteria are .com/howbig. gas gangrene. Cell Morphology: To see various types of cells.htm 5.html#nature www. Watch the following YouTube video/animation on viral reproduction (the virus lytic cycle):…How wonderful this is! For we have always believed there is no living being that can live without the advantages air offers it. in 1877. bacteria. but the term is now 3. pulmonary infections. The indigenous microflora of humans contains many species of www. Check out www. “The nature of some of these animalcules is astonishing! They are able to exercise in a vacuum the functions they use in free etc. They can be found in soil.htm for an interactive animation illustrating the relative sizes of viruses.…I believe this is…the first example of an animal living in the absence of free 2. Anaerobes cause a wide variety of human including botulism.Chapter 4: Microbial Diversity. tetanus. It was Louis Pasteur who. brain abscesses.” It was Louis Pasteur who actually introduced the terms “aerobe” and “ on the head of a pin. discovered the first pathogenic anaerobe—the bacterium that today is known as Clostridium septicum.cme. Infusoria was later used to specifically refer to ciliated protozoa.asm.cellsalive.] We know now that anaerobes are quite common and that they live in specific ecologic niches. Increase Your Knowledge 1. Information about Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology and the Bergey’s Manual Trust (the organization responsible for publishing the manual) can be found at www. but air actually kills them. in freshwater and saltwater sediments (mud).htm www. 4. and oral diseases. he wrote “these infusorial animals are able to live and multiply indefinitely in the complete absence of air or free oxygen.…These infusoria can not only live in the absence of air. visit the CELLS alive gallery web site at: www. Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes 6 microbes to die—but some did not.” [The term “infusoria” was used by early microbiologists to refer to microorganisms. He wrote in a letter to a 6. and in the bodies of animals and humans.cellsalive.cellsalive. To learn more about bacteriophages and bacteriophage research.” In an 1861 paper. visit the following web sites: www. some of which are opportunistic pathogens.

microbiologybytes. 10. 9. chlamydias. 5. It is a Windows Media file. and mycoplasmas are described as unique bacteria.html and 8. D A A C A B C A D A .com/watch?v=RrTjOrzva3I 7. Key differences between bacteria and archaea. View the following video on the Gram stain at: http://www. View the videos on various types of microbial motility at: 4: Microbial 6.] Critical Thinking Be prepared to discuss the following in class: A. Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes 7 classified: www.wmv [This is an excellent video produced by the University of Texas that explains the theory and technique for the Gram staining of bacteria. 4. Why rickettsias.utexas. Key differences between viruses and bacteria. Answers to the Chapter 4 Self-Assessment Exercises in the Text 1. 7. B. C.cellsalive. 8.

_____ 3. B. _____ 7. diplococci diplobacilli staphylococci streptobacilli streptococci _____ 1. The bacteria that cause syphilis and Lyme disease are _______________. _____ 5. and urethritis. C. _______________ have no cell walls. Spherical bacteria arranged in clusters are called _______________. _____ 10. Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes 8 Additional Chapter 4 Self-Assessment Exercises (Note: Don’t peek at the answers before you attempt to solve these self-assessment exercises. _____ 8. _____ 4. chlamydias cyanobacteria mycoplasmas rickettsias spirochetes _____ 6. _______________ are obligate intracellular pathogens that cause diseases such as trachoma. A. inclusion conjunctivitis. _______________ are photosynthetic.Chapter 4: Microbial Diversity. C. Spherical bacteria arranged in pairs are called _______________. . D.) Matching Questions A. D. _______________ are obligate intracellular pathogens that cause diseases such as typhus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Spherical bacteria arranged in chains are called _______________. _____ 9. _____ 2. E. E. B. Rod-shaped bacteria arranged in pairs are called _______________. Rod-shaped bacteria arranged in chains are called _______________.

All diseases caused by Rickettsia spp. 2. and Chlamydia spp. are arthropodborne. On entering a bacterial cell. 3. double-stranded RNA virus. _____ 10. _____ 9. _____ 6. Mycoplasmas cannot grow on artificial media. 7. 5. Rickettsia spp. HIV is an enveloped. cannot be grown on artificial media. 10. _____ 4. A D C B E E A B C D . 6. Most viruses contain both DNA and RNA. _____ 5. The cell walls of archaea contain a thicker layer of peptidoglycan than bacterial cell walls. 9. Organisms in the genus Vibrio are curved bacilli. _____ 8. Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes 9 True/False Questions _____ 1. _____ 3. Answers to the Additional Chapter 4 Self-Assessment Exercises Matching Questions 1.Chapter 4: Microbial Diversity. Viruses are the smallest infectious agents. all bacteriophages immediately initiate the lytic cycle. _____ 2. Prions are infectious RNA molecules. 8. 4. _____ 7.

viroids are infectious RNA molecules) True True . Part 1: Acellular and Procaryotic Microbes 10 True/False Questions 1. True False (they contain either DNA or RNA) False (archaean cell walls do not contain peptidoglycan) False (temperate bacteriophages cause lysogeny) False (yes they can) False (viroids and prions are infectious agents that are smaller than viruses) True False (prions are infectious proteins. 9. 4. 6. 3. 10. 5. 7.Chapter 4: Microbial Diversity. 2. 8.

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