Gene transfer agents
Gene transfer agents: capturing viruses and putting them to work
The bacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus produces a gene transfer agent, RcGTA, which is a small virus-like particle that packages ~4-kb segments of genomic DNA and transfers them to other R. capsulatus cells. The RcGTA particle is encoded in a ~15-kb cluster of genes in the R. capsulatus genome, and the production of RcGTA is controlled by several cellular regulatory systems including quorum sensing and phosphorelay signaling. We are currently working to characterize the details of how these cellular regulatory systems govern RcGTA production.