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    The bacterial nucleoid and its influence on gene expression. Molecular mechanisms by which bacteria adapt to environmental change. Regulation of gene expression by proteins and small RNAs. Riboswitches. Bacterial RNA maturation.

    Molecular Microbiology is highly relevant to all aspects of modern microbiology. MICR 335 will provide a fundamental knowledge of the mechanisms that bacteria use to sense their environment and adapt their gene expression to optimise their growth and survival. This paper emphasises general principles and illustrates their application with topical examples. Lectures are complemented by a laboratory course, which will help you develop skills in scientific record-keeping and reporting. A research project will provide hands-on experience with many of the skills and techniques that are used in a microbial genetics laboratory.

    About this paper

    Paper title Molecular Microbiology
    Subject Microbiology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    GENE 221 or MICR 221
    Schedule C
    Appropriate for students majoring in Microbiology, Genetics, Biochemistry or Molecular Biotechnology.

    Teaching staff

    Professor Greg Cook

    Other Lecturers:

    Paper Structure

    The lecture course is divided into a number of modules, some of which change from year to year, reflecting topical issues in microbiology.

    Modules for 2022 were:

    • General overview of genetic regulatory mechanisms (nine lectures)
    • Global regulation of respiration and molecular responses to oxidative stress (six lectures)
    • Regulatory RNAs and CRISPR-Cas (six lectures)
    • Stationary phase adaption (two lectures)

    The lecture course is complemented by a laboratory course that aims to help students develop research skills relevant to molecular microbiology.


    • Laboratory quizzes 10%
    • Written laboratory report 20%
    • A written three-hour final exam comprising four either/or essay questions: 70%

    To pass the paper, you must achieve a minimum of 50% overall.

    Teaching Arrangements

    This is a first semester paper with two lectures per week. The laboratory course runs over the first four weeks of the first semester only. There is considerable flexibility in the full day lab as students may leave the lab for other commitments, such as lectures.


    Textbooks are not required for this paper.
    Course readings are reviews and original papers from the literature. PDFs of these will be placed on Blackboard.

    Course outline

    Contact the course convenor for a course outline.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of central concepts and current developments in molecular microbiology.


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
    Wednesday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 9-12
    Tuesday 09:00-17:50 9-12
    Wednesday 09:00-09:50 9-12
    A2 Monday 14:00-17:50 9-12
    Tuesday 09:00-17:50 9-12
    Wednesday 10:00-10:50 9-12
    A3 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 9-12
    Thursday 09:00-17:50 9-12
    Friday 09:00-09:50 9-12
    A4 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 9-12
    Thursday 09:00-17:50 9-12
    Friday 10:00-10:50 9-12
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