Chapter 4 : Reflections of a Beer Auxotroph

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In this chapter, the author relates his experiences with John Roth, who called him a beer auxotroph. He illustrates the impact John had on the author's career. John Roth Nancy Kleckner and David Botstein published a review describing how transposable genetic elements, such as Tn, had revolutionized strain construction. In the late 1970s bacteriophage Mu was being used, which itself is a transposable element, and λ to construct fusions. These fusions proved to be powerful tools for studying gene regulation and protein secretion, for example. For each of the five years that the author taught the ABG course, John was an invited speaker. Papers from John’s lab are models of logical clarity, and they stress the power of genetic analysis, a point that the author emphasizes in his course. As examples, the author presents a couple of papers he used for years. The PNAS paper offers a very clear picture of regulation by attenuation. The paper focuses on RecBCD and tries to correlate the known biochemical activities of this remarkable enzyme with recombination phenotypes.

Citation: Silhavy T. 2011. Reflections of a Beer Auxotroph, p 27-31. In Maloy S, Hughes K, Casadesús J (ed), The Lure of Bacterial Genetics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816810.ch4

Key Concept Ranking

Genetic Elements
Bacterial Genetics
Transposable Elements
Salt Lakes
Escherichia coli
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1. Beckwith, J., and, T. J. Silhavy. 1992.The Power of Bacterial Genetics: a Literature-Based Course. Cold Spring Harbor Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY.
2. Bender, J., and , N. Kleckner. 1986. Genetic evidence that Tn10 transposes by a nonreplicative mechanism. Cell 45:801815.
3. Johnston, H. M.,, W. M. Barnes,, F. G. Chumley,, L. Bossi, and, J. R. Roth. 1980. Model for regulation of the histidine operon of Salmonella. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77:508512.
4. Kleckner, N.,, J. Roth, and, D. Botstein. 1977. Genetic engineering in vivo using translocatable drug-resistance elements. J. Mol. Biol. 116:125159.
5. Mahan, M. J., and, J. R. Roth. 1989. Role of recBC function in formation of chromosomal rearrangements: a two-step model for recombination. Genetics 121:433443.

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