Microbiology Society Marjory Stephenson Prize 2017: Professor Steve Busby

Posted on July 5, 2017   by Lorena Fernández-Martínez

In April at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2017, Professor Steve Busby from the University of Birmingham was awarded the Marjory Stephenson Prize. He gave his talk on ‘Transcription activation in bacteria: ancient and modern’. In this post, Lorena Fernández-Martínez gives us an overview of the lecture, which you can watch below.

Bacterial cells contain thousands of genes encoding proteins that are not required under all environmental conditions. Transcriptional activation is a clever way that bacteria control exactly when a gene needs to be expressed, which saves energy and ensures that the right protein is made at the right time. Transcriptional control allows bacterial cells to adapt quickly to their constantly changing environment.

Professor Steve Busby: Transcription activation in bacteria: ancient and modern

In this video, Professor Steve Busby talks us through the history of transcriptional activation in bacteria, from its discovery as a way that bacterial cells optimise gene expression, to our current understanding of the beautiful and intricate regulatory mechanisms that control its activation.

Understanding the mechanisms behind transcription activation of genes opens many exciting possibilities for biotechnological and clinical applications. For example, it could lead to new strategies to treat disease-causing bacteria, by targeting the transcriptional activators that control virulence genes.

Lorena is a Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University and a member of the Microbiology Society’s Communications Committee