MICR 335: Molecular Microbiology
18 points - Semester 1
The regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes; genetic and metabolic adaptations of bacteria to environmental change; microbial genomics and evolution.
Prokaryotes display a wide range of metabolic diversity and the control of gene expression under different conditions is an important component of understanding and exploiting microbes. Whether it be physiological adaptation to different environments or the mechanisms by which pathogens evolve through the acquisition and regulation of virulence genes, an understanding of Molecular Microbiology is an important component of modern Microbiology.
This course in Molecular Microbiology provides fundamental knowledge in gene regulation, underlying genetic regulatory mechanisms and microbial genomics and you will:
- become familiar with the key systems bacteria use to regulate expression from their genomes
- explore specific regulatory systems that respond to different stimuli and the technologies that can be used to explore gene expression
This paper provides a strong framework in molecular microbiology that is underpinned by a laboratory course that provides hand-on experience with many of the skills and techniques that are used in a microbial genetics laboratory.
Lecture course overview
The lecture content for MICR 335 is constantly evolving to ensure topics covered are truly cutting edge. The 2013 MICR 335 lectures cover the following areas:
Section A: General overview of genetic regulatory mechanisms (Clive Ronson)
1. The E. coli chromosome: physical and genetic structure; role of DNA supercoiling and chromosome-organising proteins. H-NS and FIS as transcriptional regulators
2. Organisation and structure of regulatory elements; transcriptional versus translational control; promoter structure; RNA polymerase; Sigma factors; mechanism of transcriptional initiation; how regulatory proteins may affect transcriptional initiation.
3. Regulation via Sigma factors – heat shock
4. The Stringent response
5. Regulation by extracellular stimuli; overview of two-component regulatory systems; critical control points; the Dct system
Section B: Global regulation of respiration and molecular responses to oxidative stress (Jen Robson)
6. Sensing the absence of oxygen using ArcBA and Fnr
7. Anaerobic respiration: hierarchal control of electron acceptor utilisation in E. coli.
8. Response to oxidative stress: Oxygen, friend or foe?
9. Special topic: Molecular adaptation to starvation and hypoxia in mycobacteria
Section C: Stationary phase adaptation and small non-coding RNAs (Peter Fineran)
10. Stationary phase adaptation – regulation at all levels
11. Mechanisms of regulation by small regulatory RNAs
Section D: Regulation of bacterial motility by c-di-GMP (Peter Fineran)
12. Mechanisms of intracellular signalling via c-di-GMP
Lab course overview
The MICR 335 lab course is in the form of a 4-week research project. During the MICR 335 labs you will use the transposon Tn5 to mutate the plasmid pBR322 and then use restriction mapping to locate where Tn5 has inserted in your plasmids. The labs will introduce you to many of the skills and techniques used in a microbial molecular genetics lab.
- Laboratory report written in the style of a scientific paper (25%)
- Electronic assignment (5%)
- Final exam (70%)
one of MICR 221, GENE 221
Monday, Wednesday 11:00 – 11:50, ARCH2
Tuesday 14:00-17:50, Wednesday 09:00-17:50*
Labs are held in room 302, Microbiology building
*you can leave the Wednesday lab session to attend other courses as needed.
Molecular Microbiology labs run weeks 1 – 4 of Semester 1. There will be also be small amounts of work required on additional days of the week but this can be worked around other class commitments.
Note: there are no lecture or practical clashes between any of the 300-level MICR papers
There is no recommended text for MICR 335 but you will be directed to and discuss relevant scientific papers during lectures.
For more information on this course, please contact Professor Clive Ronson (479-7701, firstname.lastname@example.org) or the 3rd year Teaching Fellow Dr Rita Przybilski (479-8475, micro300level.TF@otago.ac.nz)
To find out information on the fees and other information on this paper, click here.