Project Advisor(s)

Dr. Kimberly Murphy

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Biology | Microbiology

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Microbes have served as effective models for studying evolution because of their ability to be easily replicated, stored, and manipulated. Myxococcus xanthus is a soil bacterium that has served as a model organism in many laboratories. The unique social and motile behaviors exhibited by this bacterium make it ideal for phenotypic assays. A wild-type strain of M. xanthus, DK1622, has been distributed to laboratories across the United States and therefore we now have DK1622 sublines. The genomes of a number of these sublines have been sequenced and their social and motile phenotypes have been analyzed. When nine of these sublines were compared slight differences in their genomes were detected as well as differences in phenotype. Our study aims to determine the changes in phenotype that occur when the same gene is disrupted in three of the sublines of M. xanthus DK1622. To this end, we have created new M. xanthus mutant strains with a single gene disrupted and tested the resulting strains for motility. Results from motility assays have shown differences in the appearance of the swarms as well as differences in swarm diameter. The results obtained in this experiment suggest that further studies should be performed on the phenotypic differences between sublines of the DK1622 wild-type strain of M. xanthus. The differences noted between the wild-type sublines as well as between the mutant strains warrants the need to disrupt more genes and test the resulting mutant strains for motility and fruiting body development. If significant differences are identified between new mutant strains of M. xanthus, this opens the door for moving this type of study into other bacteria.

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Effects of Evolution on Laboratory Sublines of Myxococcus xanthus DK1622

Microbes have served as effective models for studying evolution because of their ability to be easily replicated, stored, and manipulated. Myxococcus xanthus is a soil bacterium that has served as a model organism in many laboratories. The unique social and motile behaviors exhibited by this bacterium make it ideal for phenotypic assays. A wild-type strain of M. xanthus, DK1622, has been distributed to laboratories across the United States and therefore we now have DK1622 sublines. The genomes of a number of these sublines have been sequenced and their social and motile phenotypes have been analyzed. When nine of these sublines were compared slight differences in their genomes were detected as well as differences in phenotype. Our study aims to determine the changes in phenotype that occur when the same gene is disrupted in three of the sublines of M. xanthus DK1622. To this end, we have created new M. xanthus mutant strains with a single gene disrupted and tested the resulting strains for motility. Results from motility assays have shown differences in the appearance of the swarms as well as differences in swarm diameter. The results obtained in this experiment suggest that further studies should be performed on the phenotypic differences between sublines of the DK1622 wild-type strain of M. xanthus. The differences noted between the wild-type sublines as well as between the mutant strains warrants the need to disrupt more genes and test the resulting mutant strains for motility and fruiting body development. If significant differences are identified between new mutant strains of M. xanthus, this opens the door for moving this type of study into other bacteria.