Giant bacteria with many chromosomes in each cell carry extra genes to help them live in many different environments!
Thanks to Dr. Danny Ionescu for his contribution!
Microbe of the episode
Microbe of the episode: Propionibacterium virus SKKY
We think of bacteria a certain way: too small to see and having mostly just a single large chromosome with all the genes they need for their lifestyle and not much more. And most bacteria are like that. But not all! Giant bacteria exist, some of which can be so large that individual cells can be seen without a microscope.
Achromatium species are one such kind of bacteria. They form clumps of minerals that take up most of their internal volume, but their cells are big enough to see and handle. In order to supply all parts of their vast innards with proteins, they have many copies of their chromosome distributed throughout their cytoplasm.
In this study, a survey of Achromatium genomes from all different kinds of ecosystem revealed that even different species in very different environments all seem to share one set of genetic functions, but only use the ones they need for their particular lifestyle while archiving the rest.
Ionescu D, Zoccarato L, Zaduryan A, Schorn S, Bizic M, Pinnow S, Cypionka H, Grossart H-P. Heterozygous, Polyploid, Giant Bacterium, Achromatium, Possesses an Identical Functional Inventory Worldwide across Drastically Different Ecosystems. Mol Biol Evol https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa273.
Other interesting stories
- As with other infections, gut microbiota correlates with severity of COVID-19
- Fungi help plants defend against aphids
Subscribe (free) on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Android, RSS, or by email.Support the show at Patreon. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.