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The Ins and Outs of DNA Transfer in Bacteria

This article discusses machines components of transformation and conjugation and their roles in DNA transport. Transformation and conjugation permit the passage of DNA through the bacterial membranes and represent dominant modes for the transfer of genetic information between bacterial cells or between bacterial and eukaryotic cells. As such, they are responsible for the spread of fitness-enhancing traits, including antibiotic resistance. Both processes usually involve the recognition of double-stranded DNA, followed by the transfer of single strands. Elaborate molecular machines are responsible for negotiating the passage of macromolecular DNA through the layers of the cell surface. All or nearly all the machine components involved in transformation and conjugation have been identified, and here we present models for their roles in DNA transport.

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Resource Type: Journal article/Issue, Diagram, Illustration
Audience Level: Undergraduate lower division 13-14, Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Continuing education

Author and Copyright

Authors and Editors: InĂªs Chen of Public Health Research Institute, Peter Christie of Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, David Dubnau of Public Health Research Institute
Publisher: AAAS
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: No


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