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Chapter 5

Important Definitions
- Genetics:
- Gene:
- The bacterial genome:
Bacterial Genome

Chromosomal genes Extra-chromosomal


Plasmid TGE DNA

TGE: Transposable Genetic Elements:

Structure of DNA
Semi-conservative DNA

Extra-chromosomal, double stranded,
circular, DNA molecule, smaller than the
chromosome, can replicate autonomously
(independently of the bacterial
chromosome) and may transfer from one
bacterium to another.
1- plasmid copy number: multiple copies of
the same plasmid may exist in the same cell.
2- Plasmids are generally dispensable
evidenced by:
a- The spontaneous loss of plasmids during cell
b- Plasmid curing: The experimental kicking
off of the plasmids using physical agents (e.g.
heat) or chemical agents (e.g. antibiotics).
this indicates that most plasmids encodes for
non important characters for survival or
- Types:
I- According to the copy number,
plasmids can be classified into 2 groups:

Relaxed Stringent
plasmids plasmids
Size small large
Copy 30-50 1-5
number copies / cell copies / cell
Replication Can can not
in absence
of protein
II- according to the ability of conjugation:
Conjugative Non-conjugative
plasmids plasmids
Size Large Small
Copy no. 1-5 (stringent) >30 (relaxed)
F factors Present Absent
Sex pilus Yes No
Transfer by conjugation by the help of a
among conjugative plasmid
Host bacteria Common in Common in
Gm –ve bacilli Gm +ve cocci
Functions encoded by plasmids:
1- Conjugation and sex pilus formation.
2- Antibiotic resistance.
3- Virulence plasmids.
4- Bacteriocin production.
5- Plasmid may act as a cloning vector in
Recombinant DNA technology.
6- Other functions.
Transposable Genetic
Elements (TGE):
- Definition: Extra-chromosomal, single
stranded, liner, DNA molecule, smaller
than the chromosome, can not replicate
autonomously, can transfer from one
location to another on the chromosome or
between chromosome and plasmids and
capable of inserting themselves into other
DNA molecules (replicons).