Durans is the name…Radiodurans!!! :D

•June 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

After 2 months or so, this time the spotlight is on *(drum roll) Deinococcus radiodurans! The world-famous bacteria. It has the distinction of being entered into the Guiness Book of World records as The world’s toughest bacterium!!! *( so much for it having any EQ) 😀
It belongs to the phylum Deinococcus-Thermus and to the order of Deincoccales while the genus is Deinococcus and the species D.radiodurans. Initially placed under Micrococcus, this bacterium was first observed in 1956 by A.W. Anderson at the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station in Corvallis, Oregon. This bacterium grew even in a meat can which was sterilized by radiation according to known pathogen killing dosages!*(Talk about being an extremist).Thus was this strange bacterium isolated.Later after thorough investigations, it was placed under the present genus : Deinococcus.Supposedly, Deinococcus is the only lone genus in the Order Deinococcales..*( “I am sooo lonely..I’m Mr. Lonely……….” *sniff!poor things*). All the known members of this genus are resistant to radiation…*(one trait i m sure the geneticists would love to clone!!) 😉
Its a big bacterium , spherical and has a diameter of 1.5 to 3.5 um and is usually found in tetrads..i.e. 4 cells adhered to each other…*( unity is strength, one supposes…). These bacteria can withstand a mindboggling amount of radiation…upto 50000 Gy of ionizing radiations while humans can withstand about 10 Gy…*(Bah…so much for my plans of world Domination!:()
Anyways, lots of research is currently underway as to understand its resistance to radiation in such huge amounts! Its been genetically engineered for bioremediation of industrial solvents , radioactive wastes and heavy metals. But am sure in the near future, brilliant that we are, we aint going to let this tough microbe go away just like that… with such wonderful properties…its no wonder that its been named as a SUPERBUG…*( I can already picture the D.radiodurans tetrad in a small tiny underwear and cape around it and zooming under the microscope…hehehe! Its a bird, its a plane… nahhhh! its SUUUPERRBUGGGG!!!) 😀

Unique ubique

•January 23, 2009 • 2 Comments

In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.
-Charles Darwin

    This quote seems to be tailor-made for Pelagibacter ubique. Hmmm…so Pelagibacter ubique eh?! Well I came across this little fella first in Scientific American India December 2005 edition. It contained an article about this bacterium having one of the smallest genomes ever… that means unlike us humans, it doesn’t believe in having junk DNA… so… it simply discarded the junk ( pretty smart little organism aint it?!) . B-)

      Now this smartness impressed me… ( yeah, smartness can be a turn on no?!) 😀 *(stop ranting here… we are writing about this organism not my interests…apologies! ) 😀 So, I thought of doing a background check on our little friend here… turns out it belongs to the class Alpha Proteobacteria and the order Rickettsiales and is also known as SAR11. It is thought to be the most abundant organism in the oceans … (highly debatable… say the scientists!) They make up about 25 % of all microbial plankton cells and may increase upto 50% in summer in temperate oceanic areas. Wow… thank our stars these don’t have villainous intentions or else we would in reality be the stars of “Attack of the Microbes” starring Pelagibacter ubique. 😀 Compared to our 30,000 genes , this microbe has just 1, 354… and plus they seem to have done away with genomic junk ie., no viral genes or duplicate gene copies as well…that is usually a feature in most other genomes known today. According to scientists, the microbe’s combined weight is more than that of all the fish present in the world’s seas. Also, another innovative idea applied to its life style is that Pelagibacter ubique has effectively used wherever possible those base pairs which require a lesser amount of nitrogen in their building ..meaning it doesn’t have to use the already sparse element for more time than required. Wish we could do the same with oxygen…considering all the environmental problems… sigh! Also it is supposed to be independent and unlike other organisms with smaller genomes … its pretty much self reliant… no parasitic activity, no symbiotism. ( I wish it were human … such a gentleman… man?!. Hmm..lets leave that thought here! ) It thrives on the dead organic matter which gets dissolved in the saltwater and is hence strong enough to resist extreme conditions since carbon is readily available.
      Ok…so now we know something about Pelagibacter ubique …lovable isn’t it? Research is currently underway to understand its working, functioning and more such characteristics… So till Pelagibacter ubique allows us to know more about it… we shall focus on other friends of his/her/it…whatever!
      Cheers! 🙂

Wee Animalcules : Bacteria…

•January 20, 2009 • 2 Comments

Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot.” (Gentlemen, it is the microbes who will have the last word.)”

— Louis Pasteur.

How true… now since they are known to be bad conversationists :D…they speak volumes (literally) about themselves through their actions. Well, they are indeed good examples for the idiom : Actions speak louder than words. So, this blog is going to be exclusively about bacteria, one of the first microbes to be described using primitive microscopes. Antony Von Leeuwenhoek called them “wee animalcules” and we now call them as bacteria… ahh..language!!…:D So, Bacteria this one’s for you…

I plan to write after reading about each bacterium..( this life is not going to be enough!!) as and when I come across them.

Till then… the wee animalcules and me… both say “Cheers”