Lectures will cover the structure and the functions of prokaryotic cells and the mechanisms underlying genetic variability and adaptation to environmental stimuli. The laboratory module will introduce the student to basic microbiology techniques and will assess basic notions of microbial physiology.
LECTURES: Structures and functions of microbial cells Comparison among cells of Eukaryotes, Bacteria and Archaea. Morphological features of main microbial groups. Capsule. Cell wall. Cytoplasmic membrane. Pili and flagella. The nucleoid. Structure and organization of the chromosome. Cytoplasm. Ribosomes and polysomes. Cytoplasmic inclusions. Endospores.
Microbial growth and its control (see also the laboratory module) Media and growth conditions. Pure cultures. Growth inhibition. Antibiotics: structure and mode of action, minimal inhibiting concentration, mechanisms of resistance.
Metabolism: metabolic, physiological and ecological characteristics of the principal microbial groups. Central metabolism and biosynthetic reactions. Energy metabolism. Fermentation, aerobic and aerobic respiration, chemiolithotropy, phototrophy. Evolution of the energetic mechanisms. Assimilation of C: autotrophy and heterotrophy. Assimilation of N. Nitrogen fixation. Assimilation of S and P. Regulation of biosynthetic pathways at enzyme level. Allosteric enzymes.
Microbial Genetics Mutations. Selection and screening of mutants. Mechanisms of genetic transfer. Transformation. Plasmids: General properties. Replication and partitioning. Conjugation. Bacterial viruses (Bacteriophages): Lytic cycle. Lysogenic cycle. Control of lysogeny. Generalized and specialized transduction. Recombination. Animal and plant viruses: structure, principal infection and propagation mechanisms. Evolutionary implications.
Transposable elements: structure and properties. Mechanisms of transpositions. Evolutionary relationships among plasmids, bacteriophages and transposons.
Regulation of gene expression Strategies and levels of regulation. Positive and negative regulation of transcription initiation. Regulation of transcription termination. Attenuation (trp operon). Genome structure (DNA topology and genome rearrangements). Regulatory networks. Catabolite repression. Stringent response. Alarmones.
Interactions of prokaryotes with other organims Interactions between bacteria: the cooperative processes. Quorum Sensing. The microbial associations: biofilms. Microorganism-eukaryotic host interactions. Interactions bacteria-animal organisms. The process of infection and host defense mechanisms. Innate and adaptive immunity. Beneficial and harmful interactions of bacteria with plant organisms
LABORATORY MODULE: The methods of microbiology Methods of sterilization. Pure cultures. Growth media. Influence of nutritional requirements, temperature, pH, oxygen, light. Growth, enrichment and selection of microorganisms. Microscopy. Staining techniques.
Reference Material Dehò, G., Galli, E. Biologia dei microrganismi. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 2014 Madigan, M.D., Martinko, J.M., Stahl, D.A, and Clark, D.P.: BROCK - Biologia dei microrganismi. Pearson, 2012 - 3 Voll.
Prerequisites and examination procedures Preliminary knowledge in Organic chemistry, Biological chemistry, Genetics and Molecular biology is required. Written examination with 30 multiple choice and 4-5 open-ended questions.
Recommended Prerequisites Organic chemistry, Biological chemistry, Genetics and Molecular biology
Teaching Methods Exam: written; Attendance: mandatory (with validation for the laboratory); teaching mode: traditional.
Language of instruction Italian
Program information The lessons will be available on ARIEL website