Faculty Advisor

Shell, Scarlet


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) causes tuberculosis. MTB is able to survive within the host through regulation of its gene expression. MTB accomplishes by regulating its mRNA stability. In Escherichia coli, 5’ Untranslated Regions (UTRs) have been shown to affect mRNA stability. In both MTB and Mycobacterium smegmatis, the essential sigma factor, SigA, has an unstable transcript. We hypothesized that sigA’s 5’ UTR caused this instability. To test this, we constructed fluorescent reporters and demonstrated that the sigA 5’ UTR decreases expression in M. smegmatis by altered translation efficiency. The first 54 nts of the sigA coding sequence decreased expression, and this effect appeared to be attributable to reduced transcription and/or reduced mRNA stability.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2019


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology