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Course Objectives

Topic 1: Introduction to Cell Biology

Explain the tenets of cell theory.Compare the structure and function of cells.Recognize the components of a cell and describe why each is necessary for the function of a cell. Name the different domains of life, and know about relative sizes of cells. Compare and contrast prokaryotes and eukaryotes in terms of size, complexity, presence of a nucleus or organelles, and whether they can be unicellular or multicellular. Briefly describe why organelles are present and what their general functions are, including the contents of the nucleus. Contrast the features that distinguish viruses, bacterial cells, and eukaryotic cells from each other. Give examples of different types of unicellular and multicellular organisms. Explain the primary functions of eukaryotic cells.

Topic 2: Types of biological molecules and their functions

Describe the chemical basis of life including the importance of water, gases and macromolecules. Describe the basic structure and function of macromolecules (lipids, nucleic acids, proteins). Distinguish the levels of protein structure (primary, secondary, tertiary)and how they influence protein function. Explain how protein structure can be modified (phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, binding/unbinding of another protein, proteolytic cleavage. Identify the 4 classes of macromolecules, their monomers, and their functions in cells. Describe how the properties of water affect the three-dimensional structures and stabilities of macromolecules, macromolecular assemblies, and lipid membranes.

Topic 3: Cellular energetics, metabolism and mitochondria

Identify examples of cellular mechanisms that require energy. Explain energy movement, enzyme structure and function, the pathways of cellular respiration and metabolism. Outline the flow of matter and energy in the processes by which organisms fuel growth and cellular activities, and explain how these processes conform to the laws of thermodynamics. Explain how an enzyme increases the rate of a biochemical reaction in terms of thermodynamics and molecular interactions. Explain how coupled reactions allow an energetically favorable process (e.g. ATP hydrolysis) to drive an energetically unfavorable process (e.g. phosphodiester bond formation). Describe the key features of mitochondria. Describe the steps and major proteins involved in mitochondrial biogenesis, and explain how biogenesis can be altered. Compare and contrast the main steps of oxidative phosphorylation. Describe the processes turned on/off by AMP kinase to restore energy balance (catabolism vs. anabolism).

Topic 4: Plasma membrane and its structure

Illustrate the membrane structures that dictate the function of the plasma membrane. Summarize the functions of membrane proteins. Explain the fluid state of membranes and the movement of its lipids and proteins. Describe the impact of temperature, fatty acid composition, and cholesterol presence on membrane fluidity. Compare and contrast movement of small and large molecules across the plasma membrane. Explain the basis of selective membrane permeability and the distinguishing features of substances that can move across freely and those that require protein transporters. Compare and contrast passive transport (diffusion and facilitated diffusion) with active transport. Explain the driving force behind diffusion and osmosis. Explain the role of protein transporters in transport of specific molecules. Describe the role of ATP and phosphorylation in active transport. Describe thesodium-potassium pump and its role in maintaining the membrane potential. List 4 ions that are differentially distributed across the cell membrane and explain what the function of this differential distribution is. Describe the factors contributing to resting membrane potential. Diagram the steps involved in synaptic transmission.

Topic 5: Genes, chromosomes and genomes, nucleus, replication and repair

Topic 6: Gene expression, transcription, translation, control of gene expression

Explain the "central dogma" of genetic information transfer. Describe the relationship between chromosomes, genes and DNA Distinguish between the theories for how DNA replication might work, and explain how. Draw the process of transcription and explain its utility. Diagram the processing of mRNA transcripts before translation and explain why they happen. Demonstrate how we know the "code" is non-overlapping and redundant. Interpret how mutations might affect protein structure. Justify how Mendel arrived at his laws of inheritance. Define and use correctly the terms: homozygous, heterozygous, dominant and recessive. Compare inheritance of the mitochondrial genome with the nuclear genome. Contrast the inheritance of linked genes with unlinked genes. Illustrate DNA structure and replication, protein synthesis, mutations and genetic analysis. Define the term gene, and label the different parts of a gene and gene regulatory region. Diagram the steps of protein translation (initiation, elongation, termination) including the proteins and sequences involved in each. Describe how transcription factors can activate or repress transcription. Compare and contrast the structure and function of the types of RNA involved in translation. Explain in general terms how different types of cells in the same organism can produce different proteins, even though all cells carry the same DNA sequence information. Give examples of how DNA can be mutated. Explain the function DNA, RNA, and proteins and discuss how each can be modified. Describe the proteins and RNA sequences involved in alternative splicingand the physiological regulation of splicing. Describe the process and protein sequences involved in mRNA export from the nucleus,and differentiate how mRNA export differs from protein export

Topic 7: Golgi and ER

Explain the importance of membranes in compartmentalizing cellular activities. Describe the essential functions that are carried out by the major organelles in a eukaryotic cell. List types of vesicle transport. Compare and contrast RER and SER. Define roles of VSNARES and TSNARES in targeted vesicle transfer. Compare and contrast exocytosis with endocytosis and the three types of endocytosis. Illustrate the steps involved in the general import of any given protein into the nucleus beginning at binding of importin to the cargo protein and ending with the cargo protein engaging in its nuclear function. Identify the lipoprotein complex involvedin lipid transport(chylomicrons, VLDL, LDL, or HDL) including what the complex transports and where.

Topic 8: Cytoskeleton

Describe the purpose of the cytoskeleton. Compare and contrast the cytoskeletal filaments (actin, intermediate, microtubules). Diagram the steps, proteins, and structures involved in Cytoskeletal filament assembly (actin, intermediate, microtubule). Given a scenario, identify the factors or poisons affecting (or not affecting) cytoskeletal filament assembly/disassembly and stability. Describe what structures the microtubule organizing structures (MTOC) (centrosome, spindle poles, MTOC, basal body) are critical for. Compare and contrast the various motor proteins (myosin, kinesin, dynein) in terms of structure, subunit composition and function. Describe the main components of the mitotic spindle apparatus. Compare and contrast cilia and flagella in terms of location, structure, and function.