E.coli was used specifically to use its DNA in a research project conducted by Baylor College of Medicine. The team set out to look at the mechanisms of cancer-causing proteins when overproduced in a cell and e.coli was an ideal model because of its simplicity in structure. They genetically modified the bacteria so that it was illuminated red when there was DNA damage present. These specific proteins they reproduced were known to induce cancer but they wanted to know where the genome was specifically damaged.
How does it relate?
E.coli is a microbe that we’ve discussed during the past four weeks of class. It’s a model organism (cheap and easy to maintain in a lab setting) that is heavily studied which makes it an ideal microbe for research.
I found this summary of the actual article really easy to read and understand. It used a lot of common vocabulary most people could read it easily. I didn’t have to go back and read over the article five times to understand it. One thing that I would advise people to do to be skeptical readers of this article (or any article in general) is to understand that E.coli is an extremely simple organism compared to a complex organism such as a human. This could be a oversimplification of the reality of understanding proteins and their role in the formation of cancer in complex organisms such as humans.
How do these researchers reproduce proteins in a lab setting, and how do they know which proteins they’re reproducing?
You can read the article from Science daily here.