PhD Nest

How are Plasmids Shared between Bacteria?

Answer- Plasmids are circular DNA strands that may reproduce independently and are found in the cytoplasm of cells. These plasmids deliver DNA. However, DNA (a tiny strand of chromosome) is transferred to another cell, not swapped. Prokaryotic plasmids play an important function in the bacterial genome development and host cell metabolism.

This transfer can occur via the following processes:

  • Conjugation:

Plasmids facilitate direct cell-to-cell DNA transfer. Plasmids encode a method for unidirectional transfer from donor to recipient cell. Sex Pilus is a plasmid that connects to the recipient and transfers DNA via a conjugal bridge.

  • Transformation

Free DNA fragments floating in a media are picked up by competent recipient cells.

  • Transduction

Bacteriophage-mediated DNA transfer between bacteria (bacteria-infecting virus). The bacteriophage protects the DNA therefore making it one of the most efficient routes of transmission.

  • Transposables

Plasmid transfer occurs when DNA ‘jump’ from one location in a genome to another, snipping and pasting themselves.