Bacterial Growth Rate Regulation and RNA decay

Main area:Molecular biology
Target group:Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biomedicine
Educational level:Bachelor, Masters
Project description:

During growth in many cell types, translation is the most energy consuming process exceeding 50% of the total cellular energy budget. In the model organism Escherichia coli, we have found a very direct regulatory mechanism responsible for reducing the translational capacity of the cell during stress. The reduction occurs by degradation of important components of the translational machinery, namely the components made of RNA: the tRNAs and the ribosomal RNAs. The overall goal of the project is to identify the mechanisms behind degradation and understand how that can influence the fitness of bacteria in various situations. 
Our group can offer projects in several branches of the main project. We want to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the degradation reactions. To this end we combine molecular biology and genetics, by constructing and employing mutant strains to analyze the effects of specific cellular components. We also want to understand the effect of the degradation reactions on how the bacteria cope with various stresses, and address the questions by a combination of classical growth physiology assays, molecular biology, and genetics.  A typical project includes one or more of the following techniques: 1) Cloning and expression of genes. 2) Strain construction and selection of mutants. 3) Analysis of RNA levels by Northern blots, 4) Analysis of proteins by 2D-gels or enzymatic assays, 5) Analysis of various bacterial behaviors by in vivo assays .

If you need further information, please contact us in the Biocenter at the 2nd floor in building 4 or 3 or send an e-mail to or

Methods used:site-directed mutagenesis, Northern blot, measurements of macromolecular synthesis rates, RNA-sequencing, reporter gene fusions
Keywords:tRNA, regulation of gene expression, Bacterial Stress Responses, protein synthesis, noncoding RNA
Supervisor(s): Sine Lo Svenningsen and Michael A. Sørensen