This week began with discussion of the genome in molecular biology. Dr. Peng lectured first on the structure of the genome which involves DNA wrapped around histone proteins to form chromatin. We then learned how the chromatin is regulated to allow access to the DNA that is to be transcribed into RNA.
In bacterial physiology, we finished the lectures on microbial growth and reproduction, focusing on ways to measure growth, the physiology of growth, cell division, and growth kinetics. One of the things I found most interesting in this lecture was the Min system, which works with other regulatory systems to regulate the location of cell division. Min proteins oscillate between the cell poles, blocking the access of FtsZ, a protein which forms a ring at the division site. Since the Min proteins are focused on the cell poles, FtsZ is free to start the septum at the middle of the cell, resulting in two similarly sized daughter cells. The first test in this class was on Thursday, so I spent the first part of the week preparing for it.
On Friday, I went to my bacterial genetics lab, where we began with a brief discussion of PCR primer design before extracting DNA from unknown amoebas. Friday afternoon consisted of scientific communications followed by an extra band rehearsal for the football game on Saturday.