Horizontal gene transfer
Vibrio cholerae is ”kind of a big deal” in the bacterial world and a popular topic here on Small Things Considered. Beyond being the causative agent for the disease cholera, it’s a model bacterium for studying horizontal gene transfer and interbacterial competition.
A recent study in Nature Microbiology sheds new light (literally) on how this happens. Using advanced fluorescence-based microscopy techniques combined with classic microbial genetics, the authors present exciting new insights into how V. cholerae takes up DNA from the environment. The study confirms previously hypothesized mechanisms of DNA uptake, and also shows through stunning videos just how fast and flexible this uptake mechanism is.