Adopt a microbe

Optical sections of a tetrad of Deinococcus radiodurans .The series is in order from left to right of images within a row and from top to bottom of rows within the figure. Images are taken at 100 nm intervals. The DNA (blue) is stained with DAPI and the lipid membrane (red) is stained with FM-4-64.

content of bacterium

Nickname of D. radiodurans : Conan the Bacterium

tetrad shape


Kingdom : Bacteria

Phylum : Deinococuss-Thermus

Order : Deinococcales

Family : Deinococcaaceae

Genus : Deinococcus

Species : radiodurans


Genome structure:

- Chromosome I = 2,648,638 base pairs

- Chromosome II = 412,348 base pairs

- A megaplasmid = 177,466 base pairs

- A plasmid = 45,704 base pairs

Ecology of D. radiodurans

-D. radiodurans was first isolated from gamma-irradiated canned meat in Oregon by Anderson et al.

-widely distributed in the soil and can be found in every continent

- colonized ground meat and sewage

-isolated from many different settings including radiation sterilized surgical tools, filtered air, and elephant waste

-survive in nutrient poor environments and dry places

Description of bacterium


-productive growth of D. radiodurans is accomplished with the following minimal requirements: a carbon source, nicotinic acid, a sulfur source, a nitrogen source, and a source of manganese (Mn)

-Amino acids are a preferred primary carbon energy source  

- carbohydrates are preferred in the following order: fructose > pyruvate > lactate > glucose > oxaloacetate > glycerol

-Carbohydrates are presumably imported via a phosphoenolpyruvate phosphotransferase system encoded on the megaplasmid

-D. radiodurans is dependent on exogenous nicotinic acid because it lacks key enzymes for NAD biosynthesis

-D. radiodurans contains many secreted proteases and ABC transporters, which provide exogenous amino acids as protein building blocks and peptides as components of manganese complexes

Radio fluorescence image of bacterium


-Deinococcus radiodurans is heterotropic meaning that it eats other things around it and cannot make its own food

-It is aerobic, meaning that it needs oxygen to survive. It has survived for up to 6 weeks in a vaccum before, however, in the end, it does need oxygen to survive long term.


DNA damage resistance and DNA repair mechanisms of D. radiodurans

-D. radiodurans is extremely resistant to various DNA-damaging agents inducing different forms of DNA damage

-The diversity of DNA damage withstood by D. radiodurans is commensurate with the selection of DNA repair pathways at its disposal: direct damage reversal, base and nucleotide excision repair, mismatch repair, and recombinational repair

-D. radiodurans is 30-fold and 1,000-fold more resistant to ionizing radiation than E. coli and can repair approximately 200 DSBs or 190 cross-links per genome copy without a loss of viability

Extreme resistance of D. radiodurans to gamma rays (A), desiccation (B), UV-C radiation (100 to 295 nm) (C), and mitomycin C (D)

-the mechanism of DSB repair in D. radiodurans is remarkably similar to those of yeast cells.

-D. radiodurans encodes 11 DNA glycosylases, 2 UV repair pathways (UvrABC and UV damage endonuclease [UVDE]), 2 divergent SSB proteins , and 23 genes.

-Two-step mechanism of DNA repair in D. radiodurans shattered by ionizing radiation.

two mechanism of DNA repair
Factors contribute to ionizing resistance

-Factors contributing to ionizing radiation resistance in D. radiodurans:

i) cellular cleansing

ii) antioxidant defenses

iii) DNA repair.

Biotechnological Application of D. radiodurans in Bioremediation

-bioremediation sites contaminated with radionuclides such as uranium 235U, toxic organic solvents such as toluene, heavy metal ions such as mercury Hg2+ and Cr6+

-An alternative technology for the treatment of these waste sites is in situ bioremediation using specialized microorganisms that can detoxify both metallic and organic contaminants

-minimize the dissemination of contaminants before they become widely dispersed in the environment

-The properties of the extreme resistance of D. radiodurans to ionizing radiation and other oxidative agents like deinococcal antioxidants could solve many problems in the following areas:

i) the preparation of safe but potent vaccines from radiation-inactivated bacteria or viruses with preserved antigens

(ii) transplantation and cellular therapies by improved organ, tissue, and cell conservation

(iii) food conservation

(iv) anti-inflammatory treatments, therapeutic radiation treatments, and the treatments of burn victims.


-Oxidative stress resistance in Deinococcus radiodurans, reviews in American Society for Microbiology.

-Makarova K, Minton K, et al. Genome of the Extremely Radiation-Resistant Bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans Viewed from the Perspective of Comparative Genomics. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. March 2001. Volume 65. p. 44-79.


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Hello, my name is Nurmawardah bt Mohd Karis. I'm a microbiology student from Faculty of Biotechnology and Science Biomolecule. I studied at University Putra Malaysia and what i love most about microbiology fields is, i love to hear the names of the microbes and later i will google to find more than its names. Other than that, i like the way we manipulate the microbe and use it in the more beneficial way such as produce vaccines. Furthermore, i love the to see how microbe interact with each other and the unique characteristic of each microbes. Lastly, wish me luck to success in this course.

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