This course focuses on regulatory mechanisms that microbes - primarily bacteria - employ in responses to physiological or environmental changes.
On completion of the course, the student should be able to:
understand the special conditions of life of importance for bacteria
understand, in general and in mechanistic detail, how the adaptations of microbes to changed internal and external environments result from adaptive responses
understand and explain in detail how regulatory mechanisms work at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level
have a good insight into the relationships between environmental signalling, molecular mechanisms of gene regulation, and physiological responses at a cellular or population level
understand the importance of extrachromosomal elements for gene flow and the acquisition of new traits
understand the special properties of plasmids, in particular concerning stable maintenance and replication control
have a good insight into the increasing significance of RNA-mediated control of gene expression and its mechanisms of action
understand primary publications, in general and in specific detail, and develop the skills to summarise, discuss, and critically analyse their content and evaluate their conclusions
analyse critically, interpret and evaluate, and summarise obtained experimental results
This course is mainly focused on mechanisms of gene expression that form the basis for adaptive responses in bacteria. In this course the following questions will be addressed. Overview of and deeper insights into the particular life conditions that are relevant for bacteria. Focus on conditions such as starvation, bacterial stress, differentiation processes and virulence. Understanding how changes in the internal and external environment determine phenotypic changes. In-depth analysis and understanding of connections between signals that are received by bacteria and regulation of gene expression that is required to meet physiological requirements and to mount adaptive responses. Levels of gene regulation: trancriptional regulation (DNA level) by activator and repressor proteins, post-transcriptional regulation at the mRNA level, with emphasis on regulatory RNAs and cis-acting RNA elements (riboswitches). Bacterial differentiation - sporulation. Bacterial communication - quorum sensing. Gene transfer between bacteria, the horizontal gene pool, plasmids and other extrachromosomal elements. RNA-based acquired immunity against invading DNA in bacteria and archea (CRISPR/cas). Practical lab work will be based on recent research in the subject area.
Teaching comprises lectures, seminars, lab practicals and site visits. Participation in seminars, lab practicals and lectures connected to them, is compulsory.
If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.