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Genetics of Bacteria &

Viruses
CYTOGENETICS
AY 2008-2009
Relevance of Bacterial & Viral
Genetics
• Microorganisms are the most important
component of environmental health
• Microorganisms cause diseases
• Microorganisms can help heal as well as
prevent disease
• Microorganisms have numerous
commercial/industrial applications
• Mitochondria and chloroplasts are
microorganisms
• Microorganisms serve as model system
• Microorganisms are extremely abundant
VIRUSES (Characteristics)
• Smaller than bacteria (typically, at least)
• Obligate intracellular parasites (some
bacteria are also)
• structurally simpler than cellular
organisms
• possess a relative dearth of metabolic
machinery
• Many possess unusual genomes
• Relative dearth of antivirals
• Go through an acellular stage
VIRUSES (Parts)
– The genomes of viruses are typically
much smaller than the genomes of
cellular organisms
– Virus genomes are also not always
composed dsDNA
(i) dsDNA
                     

(ii) ssDNA
                   

(iii) dsRNA                   

(iv) ssRNA                  


VIRUSES (Parts)
– Virus genomes can also take on a
variety of configurations, depending on
the virus including
• (i)          Linear
• (ii)         Circular
• (iii)        Segmented (more than one DNA
molecule, each holding a different gene
or genes)
• (iv)        Diploid (most viruses are
haploid, though)
VIRUSES (Parts)
• Capsids and envelopes
(a) Defining characteristic of viruses
                   

is their protected extracellular state


(b) Protection is achieved via a capsi
                   

(c) In addition, an envelope may be


                   

present, surrounding the capsid


Polyhedral Viruses

Figure 13.2a, b
Helical Viruses

Figure 13.4a, b
Complex Viruses

Figure 13.5a
VIRUSES (Host Range)
– Many viruses are limited to only a single
host species
(e.g. bacteriphage)
– Other viruses have broader host ranges,
being capable of successfully infecting
more than one host species
– Many viruses are additionally limited in the
cell types they are able to infect within a
host (i.e primary & secondary target)
– One determinant of the host range of a
virus is the "lock-and-key" fit between the
virus capsid or envelope proteins and virus
receptors, the latter of which typically
Viruses (Life Cycle)
The simplified virus life cycle consists of
(i) Adsorption to a host cell
                     

(ii) Uptake of the virus genome into the


                   

cell
(iii) Transcription of virus genes
                  

(iv) Translation of the resulting virus


                 

mRNAs
(v) Replication of the virus genome
                   

(vi) Packaging of the new virus genomes


                 

into capsids
(vii) Progeny-virus release from the host
                

cell
Bacteria Bacterial Capsi DN
l cell chromoso
Capsi

Sheat
Tail fiber
1 Attachment: Tail
Base
Phage
attaches to Pin
Cell wall
Plasma

2 Penetration:
Phage
pnetrates host
cell and injects Sheath

Tail core

3 Merozoites
released into
bloodsteam from
liver may infect
new red blood
Figure 13.10.1
Tail
DNA

4 Maturation:
Viral components
are assembled
Capsi
into virions.

5 Release:
Host cell lyses
and new virions Tail fibers
are released.

Figure 13.10.2
Viruses (Life Cycle)
– A lytic life cycle requires the destruction
of the host cell before progeny release
may occur
– This host-cell destruction is called lysis
Viruses (Life Cycle)
• Lysogenic life cycle (prophage,
provirus, temperate virus)
– In a lysogenic life cycle virus progeny
are neither produced nor released
• Temperate virus = a virus capable of going
through a lysogenic cycle (e.g., phage lambda,
a.k.a., )
• Prophage = a bacteriophage whose genome has
integrated into its host's genome during
lysogenic growth
• Provirus = equivalent to prophage but more
generally applicable (e.g., to animal viruses)
Beneficial Uses of Viruses in
Biotechnology
• Gene therapy
• Vaccines and vaccine carrier / delivery
vehicles
• Antibacterial agents
• Insecticides
Bacteria
• Circular chromosome
• Extrachromosomal: plasmids
• Constitutive and repressible genes
• Transposons
Bacteria
• Sex:
– Transformation
– Transduction
– Conjugation