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Genetics of Bacteria &

AY 2008-2009
Relevance of Bacterial & Viral
• 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 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
• possess a relative dearth of metabolic
• Many possess unusual genomes
• Relative dearth of antivirals
• Go through an acellular stage
– 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                  

– 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)
• 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


(iii) Transcription of virus genes

(iv) Translation of the resulting virus


(v) Replication of the virus genome

(vi) Packaging of the new virus genomes


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

Bacteria Bacterial Capsi DN
l cell chromoso

Tail fiber
1 Attachment: Tail
attaches to Pin
Cell wall

2 Penetration:
pnetrates host
cell and injects Sheath

Tail core

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

4 Maturation:
Viral components
are assembled
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
• Gene therapy
• Vaccines and vaccine carrier / delivery
• Antibacterial agents
• Insecticides
• Circular chromosome
• Extrachromosomal: plasmids
• Constitutive and repressible genes
• Transposons
• Sex:
– Transformation
– Transduction
– Conjugation