BIOL 306(F) Cellular Regulatory Mechanisms (Q)

This course explores the regulation of cellular function and gene expression from a perspective that integrates current paradigms in molecular genetics, membrane trafficking, signal transduction, and genomics. Topics include: transcriptional and post-transcriptional control, chromosome instability, prions and other self-perpetuating protein conformations, protein degradation, organellar and cytoskeletal dynamics, epigenetic mechanisms including gene silencing and imprinting, and the appropriation of intracellular transport pathways by HIV. The course will culminate with an in-depth look at programmed cell death. A central feature of the course will be discussion of articles from the primary literature, with an emphasis on the molecular bases for a variety of human pathologies such as cancer and aging. The laboratory will consist of a semester-long project that incorporates recombinant DNA techniques, macroarray analysis of transcriptional patterns, and flourescence microscopy to examine defense mechanisms common to plants and the human immune system. Format: lecture/discussion/laboratory. Evaluation will be based on three take-home tests, in-class discussion of papers, the laboratory notebook, and a grant proposal. Prerequisites: Biology 202. Enrollment limit: 24 (expected: 16). Preference given to Biology majors.