Pendulum and light!
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Ampicillin - to some bacteria it’s a villain - this irreversible enzyme inhibitor causes bacteria trouble when it prevents them from preventing the popping of their cell membrane bubble. But stick in an Amp resistance gene and bacterial colonies will be seen - Amp won’t cause them any trouble - so they’ll continue to double and double. The resistance gene will protect, and thus we can select, cells that’ve taken in a plasmid with our gene of interest within!
blog form: http://bit.ly/ampinhibition
I hate to NAG but did you remember to add AMPICILLIN to weed out cells that *lact* the BETA-LACTAMASE gene? Β-lactamase provides RESISTANCE to the antibiotic AMPICILLIN (Amp) by “popping” Amp’s LACTAM ring before Amp can “pop” the bacteria’s cell wall. And how it does it is *amase*-ing.
Bacteria shield themselves by building cell walls to reinforce their fatty cell membranes. In addition to keeping stuff *out* the wall’s important for keeping stuff *in.* It’s kinda like a water balloon 🎈 if you let too much water in, the pressure of the water pushing against the balloon skin gets too high & the balloon will pop. If this happens in cells we call it LYSIS
In MOLECULAR CLONING we stick a gene we’re interested in into a circular piece of DNA called a plasmid ⭕️ then stick that into host cells (often harmless bacteria) to make more copies of that gene &/or the protein it codes for. LATER we’ll *want* to lyse these cells to get our protein out. But, while they’re still growing, we want to keep all the protein & DNA-making machinery in the cells so the cells can make the DNA & protein for us.
BUT we only want the “right” cells to stay intact - those that actually have our plasmid. We can SELECT for just those cells by putting an ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE GENE into our plasmid alongside our gene, then spiking the bacteria food w/the corresponding antibiotic so that only cells with the plasmid can survive & grow. More here: http://bit.ly/2tcW4ky
For example, we can design a plasmid to hold our gene & the bla gene, which has the instructions for making Β-lactamase, with provides resistance to ampicillin (Amp). PART 2 👇 ...
Two things I wish I had done differently before starting biology:
1) Learn statistics, and get comfortable with it
2) learn to program in R and Python, it's way harder to learn when you are trying to do science at the same time 🧪🔬
I would argue that these two skill are close to mandatory now.
For people considering a career in science communication, in particular, is critical. EVERYTHING requires you to be able to write well.
Don't be like me and drop maths, and avoid coding and writing 😅 ...
The Sistine Chapel wasn’t built in a day, but thanks to the amino acid cysteine (Cys, C) your hair can be curled in one! Although the history of cysteine research is a bit hairy - It was hard to even find it in proteins at all. You might have heard of the curse of Tutankhaman - well, biochemists spoke of a kind of curse of cysteine research - from disappearing samples to disappearing researchers, early cysteine investigations were beset with problems. But eventually they were able to figure it out - and now we know so much about it we can take advantage of its unique property to form special links to curl our hair or straighten out its kinks!
blog form: http://bit.ly/cysteinecrosslinks
It’s Day 11 of #20DaysOfAminoAcids - the bumbling biochemist’s version of an advent calendar (past the halfway point!) Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 (common) ones, each with a generic backbone to allow for linking up through peptide bonds to form chains (polypeptides) that fold up into functional proteins, as well as unique side chains (aka “R groups” that stick off like charms from a charm bracelet). Each day I’m going to bring you the story of one of these “charms” - what we know about it and how we know about it, where it comes from, where it goes, and outstanding questions nobody knows.
Cys’ side chain is a -CH₂-SH group. -SH is called a THIOL (it’s alcohol’s (-OH) sulfur CYSter). More on alcohols here: http://bit.ly/2QWKWXp but it just refers to molecules having hydroxyl (-OH) group(s). So not all alcohols are “alcoholic” in the social outing sense. Anything with an -OH is an “alcohol” in the chemistry sense, so things like sugar are super alcoholic.
Cysteine isn’t gonna get you drunk, but the thiol can lead to some protein personality changes! PART 2 👇 ...