Practice formulating hypotheses, predictions, and experimental design. ο Describe the principles of bacterial transformation.
Explain the procedure for gene transfer using plasmid vectors. ο Induce the transfer of the pGLO gene (in a plasmid) into E. coli. ο Describe the traits carried by the pGLO gene.
Describe how to activate (“turn on”) the pGLO gene.
Describe how to recognize the transformed cells (from this lab). ο Know the terms used in this lab including transformation (in this case transformation does NOT mean the conversion of a normal cell to a cancerous one), vector, plasmid, fluorescence, antibiotic resistance, E. coli.
Answer the questions posed in this lab.
Read about the control of gene expression on pages 353-356 and about transformation on page 348 of the textbook.
Read this lab and be ready to begin the exercises.
Define the following terms (but do not hand in): transformation, vector, plasmid, fluorescence, antibiotic resistance, E. coli
In this lab you will perform a procedure known as a genetic transformation. Remember that a gene is a piece of DNA that provides the instructions for making (coding for) a protein that gives an organism a particular trait. Genetic transformation literally means change caused by genes and it involves the insertion of a gene(s) into an organism in order to change the organism’s trait(s). Genetic transformation is used in many areas of biotechnology. In agriculture, genes coding for traits such as frost, pest, or spoilage resistance can be genetically transformed into plants. In bio-remediation, bacteria can be genetically transformed with genes enabling them to digest oil spills. In medicine, diseases caused by defective genes are beginning to be treated by gene therapy; that is, by genetically transforming a sick person’s cells with healthy copies of the gene involved in their disease.
You will use a procedure to transform bacteria with a gene that codes for a Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). The real-life source of this gene is the bioluminescent jellyfish Aequorea victoria. The gene codes for a Green Fluorescent Protein that causes the jellyfish to fluoresce and glow in the dark. Following the transformation procedure, the bacteria express their newly acquired jellyfish gene and produce the fluorescent protein that causes them to glow a brilliant green color under ultraviolet light.
In this activity, you will learn about the process of moving genes from one organism to another with the aid of a plasmid. In addition to one large chromosome, bacteria naturally contain one or more small circular pieces of DNA called plasmids. Plasmid DNA usually contains genes for one or more traits that may be beneficial to bacterial survival. In nature, bacteria can transfer plasmids back and forth, which creates the opportunity for them to share these beneficial genes. (Note that the bacteria don’t know that they are picking up beneficial genes.) This natural mechanism allows bacteria to adapt to new environments. The recent occurrence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics is due to the transmission of plasmids.
The unique plasmid we use encodes the gene for the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and a gene for resistance to the antibiotic, ampicillin. The plasmid also incorporates a special gene regulation system, which can be used to control expression of the fluorescent protein in transformed cells. The gene for the Green Fluorescent Protein can be switched on in transformed cells by adding the sugar, arabinose (ara), to the cells’ nutrient medium. Selection for cells that have been transformed with the plasmid DNA is accomplished by growth on antibiotic plates. Transformed cells will appear white (wild type phenotype) on plates not containing arabinose, and fluorescent green under UV light when arabinose is included in the nutrient agar.
You will be provided with the tools and a protocol for performing genetic transformation in Escherichia coli. This transformation procedure involves three main steps. These steps are intended to introduce the plasmid DNA into the E. coli cells and provide an environment for the cells to express their newly acquired genes. Many species of bacteria have special membrane proteins for the uptake of DNA from the external environment. E. coli does not appear to have these types of membrane proteins; however, placing E. coli in a relatively high concentration of calcium ions and performing a procedure called “heat shock” will stimulate these cells to take up pieces of foreign DNA.
To move the plasmid DNA through the cell membrane you will:
1. Use a transformation solution of CaCl2 (calcium chloride)
2. Carry out a procedure referred to as heat shock
For transformed cells to grow in the presence of ampicillin you must:
1. Provide them with nutrients and a short incubation period to begin expressing their newly acquired genes
Read the lab exercise and follow the directions carefully. You will do this lab in lab groups of 3-4 students. Completion of this part of the lab will take 2 lab periods (or 1 lab and 1 class). In the second lab period you will analyze your results. PART I : BACTERIAL TRANSFORMATION
Exercise A: Introduction to Sterile Technique (in lab session) You will practice using sterile technique, as instructed at the beginning of lab session, before you do the experiment. When culturing bacteria, you must not introduce other, contaminating bacteria into your culture. Potentially contaminating bacteria are ubiquitous; they are found everywhere (including on the bench top and on your hands). It is especially important to keep the inoculation loops, the pipette tips, and the surfaces of the agar plates must not touch or be touched by any contaminating surface.
Exercise B: Bacterial Transformation (in lab session)
MATERIALS & PROCEDURES
1. Follow the procedures in the “Transformation Kit-Quick Guide” provided in lab. 2. The plates will be incubated for 24-48 hours, and then placed in a refrigerator to slow the growth of the bacteria. You will than observe the plates in the next lab period to collect your data.
3. Complete your lab report (see next page):
• formulate a hypothesis on which this investigation is based, of how E. coli
cells can be transformed by the pGLO plasmid,
• formulate the predictions, and
• explain the experimental design.
LAB 9: TO TURN IN
Answer the questions and fill in the table in the space provided below. Complete the Hypothesis, Predictions, and Experimental Design sections during the first lab period. The Results section will be completed after we analyze the data next week. Hypothesis
Formulate a hypothesis on which this investigation is based, of how E. coli cells can be transformed by the pGLO plasmid.
Prepare and complete the table below to indicate what you predict will happen on each of the four agar plates. (Will E. coli grow on these plates? Will the E. coli have any special properties compared to wild type?)
Plate Plasmid? Growth (G)
No Growth (NG)
NOTE: LB is the nutrient mixture that is added to the plate agar to feed the bacteria. Experimental design
Explain the experimental design:
1. What is/are the independent variable(s) in this experiment?
2. What is/are the dependent variable(s)?
3. Which plates will serve as control plates? Do you expect cells to grow on these plates? Why or why not? What is the purpose of these controls?
4. Define plasmid.
PART II : ANALYZING THE RESULTS
1. In the table below, fill in your observations after examining your plates
under both normal and UV light.
Plate Plasmid? Number of
2. Was your genetic transformation successful? How do you know?
3. Are your results consistent with the predictions you made in the table on the previous page? If not, why?
4. Consider the following two pairs of plates. What do the results obtained from these plates tell you about your experiment?
a. -DNA LB and -DNA LB/amp
b. +DNA LB/amp and -DNA LB/amp
5. After examining your results, would you revise your hypothesis? If so, restate your hypothesis below.