Prof. Steve Busby, University of Birmingham, UK
Research in Steve's lab is concerned with how bacteria express their genes and how this expression is regulated, with a special focus on the activation of transcription. Work from Steve’s lab in the 1990s helped establish how transcription activators work, and how bacterial promoters are organised so that different signals can be input to gene expression. This led to models for bacterial promoter organisation that have been crucial for our understanding of regulation in newly-sequenced microbes (reviewed in Browning & Busby, 2004; Minchin & Busby, 2013).
The lecture will focus on studies with the Escherichia coli cyclic AMP receptor protein which established the paradigm for transcription activation by recruitment of RNA polymerase. I will describe how, in addition to recruitment, at any bacterial promoter, nucleoid associated proteins involved in DNA compaction need to be repositioned and this is used in some transcription regulatory mechanisms. In the final part of the lecture, I will focus on transcription regulation in pathogenic bacteria, and show how the expression of bacterial virulence determinants is similarly regulated. These studies suggest a strategy to ‘disarm’ dangerous bacteria, thereby providing a way to combat bacterial disease without using antibiotics.
Browning, DF & Busby, SJ (2004) The regulation of bacterial transcription initiation. Nature Rev Microbiology 2 57-65
Busby, SJ (2019) Transcription activation in bacteria: ancient and modern. Microbiology 163 386-395
Minchin, SD & Busby, SJ (2013) Genomic Approaches to Reconstructing Transcriptional Networks. In Bacterial Gene Regulation and Transcriptional Networks (M Madan Babu, ed) ch 7 pp 111-120, Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, UK.