Course Materials

Biochemistry/Microbiology 917: Regulation of Gene Expression Seminar

This journal club is a weekly forum for graduate students and postdocs to keep abreast of current important research in gene regulation and molecular biology. We cover many aspects of gene regulation and prokaryotic molecular biology (transcription, translation, chromatin structures, synthetic biology, CRISPR, replication & cell division, etc) with a focus on mechanism. The journal club is primarily focused on prokaryotes but includes occasional eukaryotic papers when particularly relevant to mechanism.

Graduate students can take this seminar for one class credit, but everyone is welcome to sign up to give a presentation or simply to join and participate in the discussion whenever they are interested. We encourage faculty to join to stimulate cutting-edge discussion.

Next Presentation

  • June 25, 2024: Mike Wolfe: TBA

Course Information

We are currently meeting both in person in room 5503 Microbial Sciences as well as online. We will use Zoom for the journal club each week at the following link. The link is the same for each week. The password to join the online meeting, presenter schedule, and other details will be sent each week via the class email list. If you have concerns about the journal club operations, please communicate them to Bob Landick at


Microbiology 612: Prokaryotic Molecular Biology


  • Geszvain K, Landick R. The Structure of Bacterial RNA Polymerase. [PDF]
  • Zhang J, Landick R. Substrate Loading, Nucleotide Addition, and Translocation by RNA Polymerase. [PDF]


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RNA polymerase II in motion

Example of a true molecular dynamics movie. Physically realistic if you note the time scale. The entire movie shows 6 microseconds of RNAPII motions, meaning that it could be repeated over 150 times in the time it takes for you to blink your eye. An eye blink takes about 1 millisecond (1/1000th of a second or 1000 microseconds). Movie provided by Xuhui Huang and Daniel-Adriano Silva, Dept. of Chemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

RNA polymerase II nucleotide addition cycle, transcript cleavage, and backtracking

Example of a morph movie. Not physically realistic, but illustrative of the nucleotide addition cycle. Adapted from Cheung and Cramer, 2012 Cell 149:1431.

Nucleotide addition cycle, elemental pausing, and hairpin-stabilized pausing and swiveling

Schematic movie illustrating nucleotide addition cycle, elemental pausing, and hairpin-stabilized pausing and swiveling. Credit: Seth Darst.


Model of expressome (ribosome-RNAP complex) based on cryoEM structure from Kohler et al., 2017 Science 356:194 with added elements from other ribosome and RNAP structures.

Swivel domain

Molecular model of E. coli RNAP illustrating the swivel domain and its movements upon pause hairpin formation. From Kang et al., 2018 Mol Cell 69:802. Credit: Jin Young Kang.

Conserved core

Conserved core double-psi beta-barrel domains in the beta and beta-prime subunits of bacterial RNAP (illustrated with Thermus thermophilus RNAP, pdb 205i).