Advanced Microbial Genetics

Credit: 3 Units
Instructor: Artsimovitch
Offered: Spring

Lecture Topics:

  • Microbial genetics – advantages and different levels of complexity
  • Maintenance and transfer of genetic information
  • DNA replication – control and interference
  • Transcription – mechanisms and variations
  • Transcription – the focal point of gene expression control
  • Complex regulation – control of rRNA synthesis in E. coli
  • Post-transcriptional control: regulation of RNA stability
  • Methods: making and moving mutants
  • Methods: analysis of protein/nucleic acid complexes in vivo and in vitro
  • Methods: bacterial expression systems
  • Methods: analysis of gene expression patterns
  • Plasmids: biology, maintenance, and uses; conjugation and virulence
  • Translation: the mechanism; ribosome structure and regulation
  • Co-translational events
  • Post-translational regulation
  • Protein secretion; bacterial toxins
  • Antibiotics: where do we find them and why new ones are hard to come by

Learning Outcomes:

Successful Students will be able to...

  • Understand that modern microbial genetics is rapidly evolving to utilize novel experimental and computational approaches needed to address medical and environmental challenges.
  • Describe general approaches used to study microbial systems and argue what advantages and disadvantages each approach has; explain the principles of commonly used methods; understand the difference between analysis of global cellular responses and studies of a defined regulatory element.
  • Design experimental approaches to address an outstanding question. Understand the utility of model systems and explain when their use is justified.
  • Explain how studies of bacteriophages contributed to development of bacterial genetics.
  • Understand the mechanism of DNA replication, sources of genetic diversity, and control of genome integrity. Describe the steps in RNA synthesis and provide examples of protein factors and small molecule effectors that affect each of these steps.
  • Distinguish common patterns of transcriptional control.
  • Describe examples of specific and global regulators; highlight differences and similarities.
  • Understand the diversity of regulators: accessory proteins, RNAs, metabolites, etc. Describe how different bacteria can use different strategies to control analogous pathways.
  • Describe mechanisms of posttranscriptional control of different classes of RNAs.
  • Understand the basic mechanism of protein synthesis, identify different steps and the key players in the process. Describe strategies that cells use to control translation in response to metabolic needs and environmental stresses. Understand that genome replication, DNA repair, and gene expression processes occur concurrently and are coordinately regulated.
  • Distinguish different secretion systems in bacteria; explain how these systems are exploited by pathogens. Understand the pathways of genetic exchange in bacteria.
  • Understand the current challenges in pathogen control.
  • Give examples of successful antibiotics and common mechanisms of resistance; explain different approaches used to identify new antimicrobial agents.