BIOL 201 (Winter)

Cell Biology and Metabolism



Instructor(s):
G. Brouhard
Bellini 267
(514) 398-2984
gary.brouhard@mcgill.ca
T. Bernhardt (Administrator)
W3/25A
(514) 398-6416
torsten.bernhardt@mcgill.ca
Workload:
3 credits (3-0-6)
Prerequisite(s):
BIOL 200, not open to students who have taken ANAT 212 / BIOC 212

Content:
     


The cell is the basic unit of life, but each cell contain thousands of different enzymes and proteins. These proteins can be viewed as tiny, intricate, molecular machines. Our goal will be to understand how these machines work. More precisely, we will study how proteins and enzymes (1) harness energy from the environment, (2) use this energy to change their structure/conformation, and (3) use these conformational changes to do the work of staying alive. We will learn how malfunctions in protein machines are the basis of many diseases. No protein works alone, of course. Therefore we will study how groups of proteins interact, either working together in teams or competing against one another. The balance of these interactions is what defines cell physiology.

The lectures will focus on key experiments that established what we know now, paying attention to the individual scientists who drove progress. In addition, we will look at experiments being performed at world-class research institutions today. Students will learn how to analyze the data produced by these experiments and to predict results. The exams will emphasize the concepts behind cell biology rather than rote memorization. Topics will be selected from the following:

       
1) HOW CELLS HARNESS ENERGY   2) BUILDING THE CELL
Thermodynamics and the basic design of metabolism
Glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, citric acid cycle, fatty acid oxidation, Photosynthesis
Redox reactions, the respiratory chain, Chemiosmotic coupling
Bringing in nutrients: movement across biomembranes, endocytosis
Making proteins: protein synthesis and the endoplasmic reticulum
Putting proteins in place: protein targeting, secretion, exocytosis
       
3) HOW CELLS MOVE   4) CELLS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT
Giving cells their shape: the cytoskeleton, microtubules, actin filaments
Moving things around: motor proteins, intracellular transport
Receiving signals: hormones and their receptors, signalling cascades
Attachment into tissues: the extracellular matrix and adhesion
Nerve cells and communication by ion fluxes
       
5) THE LIFE CYCLE OF CELLS      
Growing up: regulation of cell size
Making new cells: mitosis and the cell cycle
Death: apoptosis
   
       
Readings: Molecular Cell Biology by H. Lodish et al, 7th ed., W.H. Freeman & Co. 2012
       
Method: Three lectures per week.  
       
Evaluation: Mid-term, quizzes and final examination  


McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see http://www.mcgill.ca/integrity/ for more information).

Last update: March 21, 2017