Chapter 1 : John Roth’s Paths and Pathways

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Bacterial genetics has been strongly influenced by the work of John Roth and his laboratory. Work in John’s laboratory has covered a large number of topics, beginning with the genetic regulation of the histidine (his) biosynthetic operon and extending to many other metabolic pathways and genetic processes. John became interested in bacterial genetics while an undergraduate at Harvard University. The regulatory mutations were scattered widely around the genome and affected functions involved in translation (e.g., histidyl-tRNA synthetase, tRNA, and tRNA modifying and processing enzymes). Interest in genetics of tRNA led John’s lab to work on a variety of informational suppressors, including recessive nonsense suppressors and many classes of frameshift suppressors in which altered tRNAs caused translation to shift reading phase. John became interested in chromosomal duplications during early studies on nonsense suppressor tRNAs. Suppressor mutations that alter an essential tRNA type are lethal unless they arise in one copy of a preexisting duplication of the tRNA gene. The genetic tools developed in John’s lab helped change the perspectives on the pulsating rhythms of chromosome organization. Other work led to ideas on the evolution of bacterial operons by horizontal transfer and origins of new genes by selective amplification. In addition to his research accomplishments, John is an enthusiastic, stimulating speaker and teacher.

Citation: Hughes K, Maloy S. 2011. John Roth’s Paths and Pathways , p 3-7. In Maloy S, Hughes K, Casadesús J (ed), The Lure of Bacterial Genetics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816810.ch1
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Image of FIGURE 1

Serendipitous path of science. John Roth’s notes on the sequence of projects and people in his lab. (From a chalk talk that he gave at a meeting in 1990.)

Citation: Hughes K, Maloy S. 2011. John Roth’s Paths and Pathways , p 3-7. In Maloy S, Hughes K, Casadesús J (ed), The Lure of Bacterial Genetics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816810.ch1
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1. Cairns, J.,, J. Overbaugh, and, S. Miller. 1988. The origin of mutants. Nature 335: 142145.
2. Hartman, P., and, J. Roth. 1973. Mechanisms of suppression. Adv. Genet. 17: 1105.
3. Hughes, K., and, S. Maloy. 2007. Use of operon and gene fusions to study gene regulation in Salmonella. Methods Enzymol. 421: 140158.
4. Hughes, K., and, S. Maloy. 2009. The 2009 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal: John Roth. Genetics 181: 823839.
5. Johnston, M.,, W. Barnes,, F. Chumley,, L. Bossi, and, J. Roth. 1980. Model for regulation of the histidine operon of Salmonella. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77: 508512.
6. Kleckner, N.,, D. Botstein, and, J. Roth. 1977. Genetic engineering in vivo using translocatable drug-resistance elements. New methods in bacterial genetics. J. Mol. Biol. 116: 125159.
7. Olivera, B. M., and, I. R. Lehman. 1967. Diphosphopyridine nucleotide: a cofactor for the polynucleotide-joining enzyme from Escherichia coli. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 57: 17001704.
8. Roth, J.,, D. Antón, and, P. Hartman. 1966. Histidine regulatory mutants in Salmonella typhimurium I. Isolation and general properties. J. Mol. Biol. 22: 305323.
9. Roth, R.,, N. Benson,, T. Galitski,, K. Haack,, J. Lawrence, and, L. Miesel. 1996. Rearrangements of the bacterial chromosome: formation and applications, p. 22562276. In F.C. Neidhardt,, R. Curtiss III,, J.L. Ingraham,, E. C. C. Lin,, K. B. Low, , B Magasanik,, W. S. Reznikoff,, M. Riley,, M. Schaechter, and, H. E. Umbarger (ed.), Escherichia coli and Salmonella Cellular and Molecular Biology. ASM Press, Washington, DC.
10. Roth, J.,, J. Lawrence, and, T. Bobik. 1996. Cobalamin (coenzyme B12): synthesis and biological significance. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 50: 137181.

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