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The GASP phenotype in Acinetobacter baylyi

by Krych, Leland William


Competence for natural transformation is the physiological ability of bacteria to take up extracellular DNA. This ability is wielded by over 40 species of bacteria. We hypothesize that competence for natural transformation might be required for the GASP phenotype: a phenomenon by which cells grown to long term stationary phase can out-compete young cells co-incubated with them in stationary phase. In this experiment, we show for the first time that the soil bacteria Acinetobacter baylyi exhibits the GASP phenotype, and that knock out mutants of the gene comP which codes for a prepilin-like protein showed significantly reduced fitness levels during a GASP test when competed against young wild type cells. Knock out mutants of the gene comQ, which codes for a transmembrane protein, showed reduced fitness levels when competed against a young wild type strain in stationary phase but this difference was not significant. Defective GASP responses suggest that natural competence is important for cells to “age” (evolve) normally during long-term stationary phase.


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Colorado College
Digital Origin
born digital
24 pages
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Lostroh, Phoebe
Degree Name
Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued