Chapter 26 : Listening to What the “Bug” Tells You

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The College of Agriculture at Cornell University was virtually cost-free to residents of New York State and so the author decided to go there. Although there were laboratories in zoology, botany, and geology (and the author took them all), the microbiology laboratories were "user friendly." Perhaps what was so exciting was the hands-on approach. Results were in real time and experiments could be performed, even when they were not part of the formal laboratory exercise. This was certainly not true in other areas. During Srb's course Euphrusi's early work with and McClintock's work with corn were discussed. However, it was the genetics of Beadle and Tatum-to which Euphrusi had contributed-and Euphrusi's work with yeast and the beginnings of genetics or bacteriophage T4 that seemed more meaningful. Lectures by the late Wolfe Vishniac dealt with "funny bugs," an anachronism describing a collection of bacteria that were then far outside the mainstream-for example, methane, sulfur, and photosynthetic bacteria. The photosynthetic bacteria were particularly interesting to the author because he was amazed that nonsulfur purple bacteria could grow heterotrophically and photosynthetically or not, depending on the absence or presence of oxygen, switching metabolic modes based on levels of oxygen. To investigate the photosynthetic membranes of the purple nonsulfur bacteria, it was essential to develop a genetic system for . Such a system could be applied to study the control of gene expression by oxygen and light.

Citation: Kaplan S. 2000. Listening to What the “Bug” Tells You, p 205-211. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch26

Key Concept Ranking

Bacteria and Archaea
Neurospora crassa
Ribosomal RNA
Escherichia coli
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Citation: Kaplan S. 2000. Listening to What the “Bug” Tells You, p 205-211. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch26
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1. O’Gara, J.,, and S. Kaplan. 1997. Evidence of the role of redox carriers in photosynthesis gene expression and carotenoid biosynthesis in Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1. J. Bacteriol. 179:19511961.
2. Suwanto, A.,, and S. Kaplan. 1989. Physical and genetic mapping of the Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1 genome: the presence of two unique circular chromosomes. J. Bacteriol. 171:58505859.
3. Kiley, P. J.,, A. Varga,, and S. Kaplan. 1988. A physiological and structural analysis of light harvesting mutants of Rhodobacter sphaeroides. J. Bacteriol. 170:11031115.
4. Zhu, Y. S.,, and S. Kaplan. 1985. The effects of light, oxygen, and substrates on steady-state levels of mRNA coding for ribulose-1,5-bisphos-phate carboxylase, light harvesting, and reacting center polypeptides in Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides. J. Bacteriol. 162:925932.
5. Chory, J.,, T. J. Donohue,, A. R. Varga,, L. A. Staehelin,, and S. Kaplan. 1984. Induction of the photosynthetic membrane of Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides: biochemical and morphological studies. J. Bacteriol. 159:540554.
6. Fraley, R. T.,, C. S. Fornari,, and S. Kaplan. 1979. Entrapment of a bacterial plasmid in phospholipid vesicles: potential for gene transfer. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 76:33483352.
7. Kaplan, S.,, A. Atherly,, and A. Barrett. 1973. Synthesis of stable RNA in stringent Escherichia coli cells in the absence of charged tRNA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 70:689692.
8. Marrs, B.,, and S. Kaplan. 1970. 23S precursor ribosomal RNA of Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides. J. Mol. Biol. 49:297317.
9. Kaplan, S.,, A. O. W. Stretton,, and S. Brenner. 1965. Amber suppression: Efficiency of chain propagation and suppressor specific amino acids. J. Mol. Biol. 14:528533.
10. Kaplan, S.,, Y. Suyama,, and D. M. Bonner. 1964. Fine structure analysis at the Td locus of Neurospora crassa. Genetics 49:145158.

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