Microbial Regulatory Mechanisms

5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1MB436

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Molecular Biotechnology A1N, Technology A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 26 March 2021
Responsible department
Biology Education Centre

Entry requirements

120 credits including Microbiology. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

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


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).


Lectures and seminars.


Written exam 3 credits, seminars 2 credits.

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.