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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2005;59:519-51.

Opportunities for genetic investigation afforded by Acinetobacter baylyi, a nutritionally versatile bacterial species that is highly competent for natural transformation.

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1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The genetic and physiological properties of Acinetobacter baylyi strain ADP1 make it an inviting subject for investigation of the properties underlying its nutritional versatility. The organism possesses a relatively small genome in which genes for most catabolic functions are clustered in several genetic islands that, unlike pathogenicity islands, give little evidence of horizontal transfer. Coupling mutagenic polymerase chain reaction to natural transformation provides insight into how structure influences function in transporters, transcriptional regulators, and enzymes. With appropriate selection, mutants in which such molecules have acquired novel function may be obtained. The extraordinary competence of A. baylyi for natural transformation and the ease with which it expresses heterologous genes make it a promising platform for construction of novel metabolic systems. Steps toward this goal should take into account the complexity of existing pathways in which transmembrane trafficking plays a significant role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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