Molecular Microbiology and Genetics of Microorganisms

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
BIO/18 BIO/19
Learning objectives
The aims of the course are to illustrate:
i) how bacteria sense different environmental stimuli;
ii) how gene expression is regulated in bacteria at the level of single cells and populations;
iii) available methods and strategies in bacterial research.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will reach an integrated view of the mechanisms by which bacterial cells perceive environmental stimuli, transduce them as intracellular signals and implement proper regulatory and physiological responses, and they will be able to critically integrate new knowledge in this context. Moreover, students will be prepared to propose and clearly communicate strategies and experimental approaches to the resolution of biological problems.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Teaching methods: Specific Information on delivery mode of training activities will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of public health situation.

Reference materials: The program and the reference material will not change.

Verification of learning and evaluation criteria: The remote exams that may be imposed by the Covid-19 emergency will be conducted entirely orally on the Microsoft Teams platform and will consist of 4-5 questions about the scientific topics discussed during the lessons.
Course syllabus
-Introduction to general strategies of gene expression regulation in bacteria: sigma and anti-sigma factors, repressors and activators.
-Regulation of the arabinose operon.
-Response to genotoxic agents: the SOS response and spread of antibiotic resistance. Bacterial persisters.
-Response to temperature upshift: RpoH and RpoE regulons.
-Post-transcriptional regulation. Regulation by non-coding RNA
-Signal transduction by Two-Component Regulatory Systems (TCRS).
-Cell-to-cell communication in microbial communities. Quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Vibrio cholerae
-Bacteriophages and their arm-race with bacteria
Prerequisites for admission
The students must have basic knowledge (Bachelor level) in Microbiology, Genetics and Molecular biology.
Teaching methods
Traditional, Powerpoint-assisted lectures, with ample time dedicated to biological problem solving and the discussion of different approaches to answer biological questions. Students are strongly encouraged to attend lessons and take part in the active discussions.
Teaching Resources
General concepts in Microbiology can be retrieved in: Brock Biology of Microorganisms (15th Edition) by M. Madigan et al. Specific review articles on the topics treated during the classes will be proposed. The pdf of the slides shown during the classes will be available on the course Ariel website.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Learning assessments will be carried out by a written exam at the end of the course.
The exam includes one open question (50% of the final score), and multiple choices and/or schematic questions (50% of the final score). Multiple choice questions are aimed to verify the global understanding of the key concepts and definitions taught during the course, whereas the open question is designed to evaluate the ability of the student to apply the concepts and experimental approaches taught in the course to the resolution of simple biological problems concerning the processes and regulatory mechanisms discussed in class.
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Briani Federica
wednesday 15:30-16:30 on appointment required by e-mail
4° floor, tower C. Because of the current pandemic, a remote meeting will be scheduled