Way way way cool new paper in PLoS Genetics from Nancy Moran's lab. The paper (Origin of an Alternative Genetic Code in the Extremely Small and GC–Rich Genome of a Bacterial Symbiont). The paper discusses the use of genome sequencing and proteomics (as well as a variety of bioinformatic analyses) of a bacterial symbiont (Hodgkinia) of cicadas.
And for those not in the know, this is an Open Access paper using a broad Creative Commons license (since it is in a PLoS journal) so anyone can reuse material from it as long as the source is cited. This image to the left is from their paper so I am citing the source here: McCutcheon JP, McDonald BR, Moran NA (2009) Origin of an Alternative Genetic Code in the Extremely Small and GC–Rich Genome of a Bacterial Symbiont. PLoS Genet 5(7): e1000565. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000565
The study has some interesting things including:
- the genome of the symbiont has a much higher GC content than other small bacterial genomes for which the sequence is available
- the symbiont is member of the alpha proteobacterial group, which is somewhat unusual since most other insect endosymbionts that have been studied are from the gamma proteobacterial group and/or the bacteroidetes clade
- the UGA codon in this species is used to encode tryptophan and not as a stop codon
Anyway the paper is worth a read ...
McCutcheon, J., McDonald, B., & Moran, N. (2009). Origin of an Alternative Genetic Code in the Extremely Small and GC–Rich Genome of a Bacterial Symbiont PLoS Genetics, 5 (7) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000565