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Chapter 20 : Conjugation

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Conjugation, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

In 1946, Joshua Lederburg and Edward Tatum discovered that genes could be exchanged between cells in a process that required direct contact between the cells and a special fertility (F) factor in the donor cell. This process was named conjugation, and it is also referred to as bacterial sexuality because of the direct donation of genetic material. The basic form of the F factor is the F plasmid, a very large plasmid that contains several genes required for its conjugational transfer. Any cell that contains the F plasmid can synthesize all the proteins needed for conjugation (from the F genes) and so is "fertile." Fertile cells synthesize a special structure called a pilus, a tubelike appendage that protrudes from the outer membrane. The F plasmid occasionally recombines into the chromosome. It is believed that conjugation is the most important route of transmission of antibiotic resistance in most disease-causing bacteria. In this activity, students will observe the conjugative transmission of ampicillin resistance to a cell that is already resistant to streptomycin. The antibiotic streptomycin acts by binding to a ribosomal protein and preventing protein synthesis.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Conjugation, p 306-318. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch20

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Figures

Image of Figure 20.1
Figure 20.1

Conjugative transfer of ampicillin resistance plasmid.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Conjugation, p 306-318. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch20
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Image of Figure 20.2
Figure 20.2

Diagram for recording results of conjugation experiment.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Conjugation, p 306-318. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch20
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Download as Powerpoint

References

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1. Amabile-Cuevas, C.,, M. Cardenas-Garcia,, and M. Ludgar. 1995. Antibiotic resistance. American Scientist 83:320329.
2. Levy, S. 1998. The challenge of antibiotic resistance. Scientific American 278 (3):46.
3. Miller, R. 1998. Bacterial gene swapping in nature. Scientific American 278(1):67.
4. Price, L.,, E. Johnson,, R. Valles,, and E. Silbergeld. 2005. Fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter isolates from conventional and antibiotic-free chicken products. Environmental Health Perspectives 113:557560. Content is free on line (http://www.ehponline.org/members/2005/7647/7647.html).
5. Amabile-Cuevas, C. 2003. New antibiotics, new resistance. American Scientist 91:138.
6. Garrett, L. 1994. The Coming Plague. Penguin Books USA, Inc., New York, NY. This is a long, fascinating book about emerging diseases. Chapter 13 deals with antibiotic resistance.
7. Levy, S. 1998. The challenge of antibiotic resistance. Scientific American 278(3):46.
8. Miller, R. 1998. Bacterial gene swapping in nature. Scientific American 278(1):66.

Tables

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Table 20.1

Expected answers on student copies of Table 20.1

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Conjugation, p 306-318. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch20
Generic image for table
Table 20.1

Expected results

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Conjugation, p 306-318. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch20
Generic image for table
Table 20.2

Examples of mechanisms of action of and mechanisms of resistance to antibiotics

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Conjugation, p 306-318. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch20

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