Preparation of a DNA gene probe for detection of mercury resistance genes in gram-negative bacterial communities.

The number of tested strains was small, these results suggested that bacterial mercury resistance systems evolved after the divergence of gram-negative from grampositive bacteria

T Barkay


Scholarcy highlights

  • The effect of pollution on a given environment depends, to a great extent, on the response of the indigenous microbial community to the added pollutants
  • The utilization of DNA-DNA hybridization for the detection of specific DNA sequences in bacteria isolated from natural samples has been previously described
  • The preparation of the mer gene probe described in this paper was aimed at the development of a means for the study of genetic change mechanisms in the adaptation of natural bacterial communities to a stressor
  • Several reasons suggest that bacterial mercury resistance is an appropriate model system for this type of study. Mercury is a deleterious environmental pollutant, and the role played by microorganisms in its cycling in the environment has been extensively investigated . The genes coding for mercury resistance have been shown to be carried on plasmids and transposons . The biological evolution of elemental mercury from water and soils has been demonstrated in situ, and microorganisms isolated from these environments reduced mercurials to the elemental form
  • The successful development of a gene probe required that any nonspecific DNA sequences be separated from mer sequences to prevent background hybridization
  • The mer operon in R100 is adjacent to ISJb, which is widely distributed among some gram-negative bacteria
  • The investigation of this process in gram-positive bacteria and other groups of microorganisms would require the development of other probes specific for the mercury resistance genes of these organisms

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