Faculty Advisor

Shell, Scarlet


Populations Mycobacterium tuberculosis, are genetically identical but phenotypically heterogeneous within an infected individual. We hypothesize that one source of phenotypic heterogeneity is the 5’ untranslated regions (5’ UTRs), which can modulate both transcript stability and translation efficiency. The relatively long length of the 5’ UTR of groES suggests that its functionality may extend beyond ribosome binding. In order to investigate this hypothesis, the long 5’ UTR of the groES gene from Mycobacterium smegmatis was used to create a number of strains utilizing the native 5’ UTR and several modified variants upstream of a fluorescent reporter. Our results indicate that 5’ UTR composition dramatically affects expression levels and contributes to phenotypic heterogeneity.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2017


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology