quorum sensing

November 7-11

On Monday in molecular biology, Dr. Peng discussed translation in bacteria and eukaryotes. The third test in that class was on Wednesday and covered site-specific recombination and translocation of DNA, transcription mechanisms, RNA splicing, and translation.

In biochemistry on Tuesday and Thursday, we learned about lipids’ roles in membranes, including the phospholipid bilayer of biological membranes and the fluid mosaic model. In bacterial physiology, we began with the structure of microbial communities, particularly biofilm formation. We continued with cell-to-cell communication systems, such as quorum sensing, which allows bacteria to sense how many of their own kind are in the population. Quorum sensing is used to coordinate varied activities such as competence, virulence, biofilm formation, sporulation, and bacteriocin production. We also discussed symbiosis such as mutualism, cooperation, commensalism, predation, and parasitism.

On Friday, the bacterial genetics lab met in the computer lab to analyze the Sanger sequences of the RFLP assay. The data did not work out as well as expected, probably because the PCR product was not incubated long enough with the restriction enzyme and the enzyme did not cut all the sequences. We have the final test for the lab next week, and then the class will be completed.