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Name: Precha
Status: Educator
Grade:  Other
Location: N/A
Country: United States
Date: May 2005


Question:
Dear Scientists,
I used to read a scientific article and came across a phrase "streptomycin dependent mutant". My question is how this bug can not grow without the antibiotic streptomycin? What is molecular basis of this phenotype? How is such mutant created?



Replies:
Streptomycin kills bacteria by binding to one of the proteins comprising ribosomes and in so doing inhibits protein synthesis. Mutations (resulting in aminn acid subsittutions in the ribosomal proteins) is one of the ways in which bacteria become resistant to streptomycin. Sometimes these mutations result in a ribosomal protein that requires the binding of streptomycin to the protein in order for the protein to properly function during protein synthesis and thus the bacterium is dependent on the binding of streptomycin to the ribosome.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.



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