MICR 461: Molecular Microbiology
20 points - Semester 1
MICR 461 is a tutorial-based paper that examines cutting-edge topics in molecular microbiology in depth. The paper consists of 4 modules, each module comprises of 3 tutorials. In the first tutorial an overview of the topic is considered. In the other tutorials the students take the major role, e.g. -- presentation of papers pertinent to the topic, etc. Tutorials in 2011 will cover the following topics:
Module 1: Developmental genetics of bacteria
The first tutorial will discuss three model systems for developmental biology in prokaryotes. In the second tutorial we will focus in on the initiation of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis discussing the original papers that lead to the discovery of the phosphorelay pathway. Tutorial 3 will look at the modern approaches used to understand sporulation in Bacillus subtilis.
Module 2: Molecular Mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis
Many bacterial pathogens cause disease by subverting basic physiological processes in the host human cell. In many cases, the relevant bacterial virulence factors have been identified and the molecular basis of their interaction with host proteins elucidated. We will critically analyse primary research papers dealing with molecular mechanisms of virulence of several key bacterial pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Yersinia spp., and Shigella flexneri.
Module 3: Horizontal gene transfer and the levels of natural selection
Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is ubiquitous in the microbial world, resulting in the rapid emergence of adapted strains that would otherwise be slow to arise through strict vertical inheritance. However from the point of view of an individual bacterium, there is seemingly little advantage in sharing your genes with your neighbour, as it is energetically costly and may ultimately result in your neighbour usurping your niche. We will discuss recent thinking concerning the levels of selection on MGE and bacteria and then review primary research in an attempt to identify what forces might drive HGT in each case.
Module 4: CRISPRs: bacterial acquired immunity to phage infection
The predator-prey dynamic between phage and bacteria in the environment has resulted in the evolution of a multitude of phage resistance mechanisms. In this module, we will examine the recently described phage resistance systems encoded by CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) loci. These repetitive regions, present in almost all Archaea and approximately 50% of Eubacteria, provide a novel resistance mechanism and are also a useful tool in bacterial strain typing.
- A 30-minute oral exam (25%)
- A 3-hour final exam (75%)
- Professor Clive Ronson (Course convenor) »
- Professor Greg Cook »
- Dr Peter Fineran »
- Dr Keith Ireton »
- Dr Josh Ramsay »
For further information on this paper, please contact Professor Clive Ronson (479-7701, email@example.com)
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