Streptococcus pneumoniae

Drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae


Binary Fission
    Like most bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae reproduce through binary fission (Carter, 1997). During this process, the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria will first copy it’s genetic material. After the copy has been completed, the genetic material will then polarize at opposite ends of the bacteria. Proteins then begin to form a ring in the center of the bacteria. This ring, called the FTsZ ring, will then cause the bacteria to split in two while avoiding doing any damage to either copy of the genetic material (Cornell University, 2013).

Below is a video showing binary fission in Streptococcus pneumoniae

 Ideal Conditions
    When placed in mixed media containing blood, the bacteria undergo binary fission at a doubling rate between 20-30 minutes at 37 C. (Todar, 2012, p.1) This environment is similar to a human, whose average body temperature is 37 C (Wong, 1997).

Sources of Genetic Recombination
Bacteria typically undergo genetic recombination through transformation, transduction, or conjugation. However, it should be noted that one of the most efficient sources for genetic recombination in Streptococcus pneumoniae is transformation (Marks, Reddinger, Hakansson, 2012). As a matter of fact, the process of genetic transformation was discovered by Fred Griffith in the late 1920’s (Evers, 2009).  To undergo genetic recombination, bacteria “pick up” genes from other bacteria (including dead ones) and add them to their genome. In addition, recombination can simply come from mutations which creates different traits in the bacteria (Todar, 2012, p. 2).

Medical Issues Arising from Recombination Efficiency
Streptococcus pneumoniae are remarkably efficient at shuffling their genes and multiplying effectively which can help explain their high antibiotic resistance. In addition, many different types of serotypes (the type of plasma serum within the organism) exist which makes it even harder to create drugs against one particular type of organism. (Todar, 2012)

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