Molecular Microbiology


After this unit, students should be able to:
1. To understand and distinguish concepts of bacterial identification and typing.
2. To know the processes of transfer of genetic information in prokaryotes.
3. To know the main tools for the molecular detection of opportunistic fungal infections.
4. To understand the different steps of the viral replication cycle and the molecular interactions established during the viral replication cycle by viruses of different families with animal cells.
5. To recognize the diversity of rapid diagnostic tests and their applications; particularly in the context of tropical diseases and decentralized diagnosis (“point-of-care”).
6. To understand the principles and execute some main molecular protocols used in the laboratorial diagnosis of infections caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses.
7. To understand the fundamentals of molecular diagnostic methods, advantages limitations and validation.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Couto


Weekly - 9

Total - 66

Teaching language



Attendance of 2/3 of classes is mandatory


• Patricia, M. Tille. (2013) Bailey and Scott's Diagnostic Microbiology. Elsevier, 13ª Ed.
• Madigan, M., Martinko, J., Bender, K., Buckley, D. and Stahl, D. (2015) Brock Biology of Microorganisms. Pearson Education Ltd, England, 14th Ed.
• Larry, S., Peters, J. E., Henkin, T. M. and Champness, W. (2013). Molecular Genetics of Bacteria. ASM Press, 4th Ed.
• Flint, S.J., Enquist, L.W., Racaniello, V.R., Skalka, A.M. (2009). Principles of Virology. ASM Press, Washington, DC, 3ª Ed. (2 vols.).
• Knipe, D.M. and Howley, P.M. (Ed). (2013) FIELDS Virology, 6th Ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
• Barroso, H., Meliço-Silvestre, A. and Taveira, N. (Eds). 2014. Microbiologia Médica. Lidel, Lisboa.

Teaching method

The total contact hours will be distributed by fourteen lectures and six classes of laboratory practice.

Evaluation method

Students with 2/3 of class attendance will be evaluated through a written exam of multiple choice questions, focusing on the content of theoretical and practical classes (100% total classification, rating scale: 0 to 20).
Students rated 9.5 or higher in this exam will be approved.

Subject matter

Theoretical component:
I. The concept of bacterial species.
II. Molecular methods of identification and typing. Hibridization and amplification of nucleic acids.
III. Transfer of genetic information in prokaryotes.
IV. Molecular tools for the detection of fungi in clinical samples.
V. Entry of viruses into cells. Replication strategies of viruses with DNA, and RNA genomes. Virion assembly and release from cells.
VI. New technologies (biosensors, microarrays, paper microfluidics).
VII. Applications of molecular tools to the microbiological diagnosis and its validation.
Practical component:
I. Application of PCR and reverse hybridization for the detection of M. tuberculosis DNA in sputa.
II. Use of multiplex PCR and real-time PCR for the detection of T. pallidum DNA in a sample of genital ulcer exudates of patients with suspected primary syphilis.
III. Application of different protocols for fungal DNA extraction and identification.
IV. Extraction and analysis of RNA of hepatitis C virus (HCV) from a plasma sample.


Programs where the course is taught: