Onward, microbes | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

Onward, microbes

By
9:24am, May 22, 2007

With a tweak to their genetic codes, bacteria have been coaxed to follow a chemical trail of a researcher's choosing.

Chemotactic bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, recognize and move toward certain chemicals. The chemicals bind to proteins on the microbe's surface, inducing an internal mechanism to drive the microbe's flagellum, a tail-like structure.

Chemists Justin P. Gallivan and Shana Topp of Emory University in Atlanta wanted bacterial cells "to follow things that we want them to follow," Gallivan says. Rather than engineering one of the bacterial-cell-surface proteins to recognize a new chemical, the researchers focused on one of the internal proteins that controls the E. coli flag

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content