MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE MYCOBACTERIA

M. J. COLSTON, F. I. LAMB
1989 Leprosy Review  
The molecular biology of the mycobacteria is poised at the threshold of making major contributions to the understanding of the biochemistry and pathogenic mechanisms involved in mycobacterial infections. The application of molecular biology to the study of mycobacteria has recently begun, with preliminary studies on the nucleic acids of mycobacteria, cloning and expression of a number of mycobacterial genes and the development of mycobacteria themselves as gene cloning systems. In this review,
more » ... s. In this review, we will discuss the progress that has been made so far and the likely direction of future work. The nucleic acids of mycobacteria Both DNA and RNA have been isolated from mycobacteria, including armadillo-grown Mycobacterium leprae. They belong to the high guanine plus cytosine (G+C) Gram-positive group of bacteria; the cultivable mycobacteria have G+C in the range 60-67%, while M. leprae's G+C content is somewhat lower, at 56%.1 The genome size for M. tuberculosis is similar to that for Escherichia coli (2' 5 x 109 M,), while that for M. leprae is smaller (1·3-2·2 x 109 M,).2 Plasmids and phages have been isolated from cultivable mycobacteria, but not, probably for technical reasons, from M. leprae. There is a sugestion that plasmids isolated from members of the 0305-7518/89/060089+05 SO 1.00
doi:10.5935/0305-7518.19890011 fatcat:kbmbywquizdztfpfwk4jd42sne