Bacterial Gene Transfer Agents have distinct DNA packaging machinery
Some microorganisms produce nanostructures that morphologically and genetically resemble viruses, but don't behave like typical viruses. Since these nanostructures can deliver random pieces of bacterial DNA to other cells, they were dubbed gene transfer agents (GTAs). Origin, evolution and function of GTAs remains poorly understood. In the new study, Professor Zhaxybayeva's group tracked evolutionary history of a DNA packaging protein to find out from which type of viruses GTAs evolved. This article is based on the senior thesis of the biology major Emma Esterman'20.
To read the published paper, Evolution of DNA packaging in gene transfer agents, please visit https://academic.oup.com/ve/article/7/1/veab015/6144903