BIOL 300 (Fall)

Molecular Biology of the Gene

F. Schoeck (Coordinator)
(514) 398-6434
N. Moon Bellini 266 (514) 398-2982
3 credits (3-0-6)
BIOL 200, BIOL 201 or ANAT 212 / BIOC 212

I.  Regulation of gene expression (Moon)
A. Introduction and overview (1 lecture)
1. Nucleic acids and gene structure
2. Basic transcriptional mechanisms (initiation, elongation, termination)
3. Gene structure in prokaryotes and eukaryotes

B. Gene expression in prokaryotes (1 lecture)
1. Transcription initiation (RNA polymerase, sigma factors)
2. Regulation of transcription by activators and repressors
3. Transcription termination (Rho dependent and independent, attenuation)

C. Transcription initiation in eukaryotes (8 lectures)
1. RNA polymerase II (holoenzyme, core promoter elements)
2. General transcription factors and preinitiation complex assembly
3. Mediator complexes
4. Enhancesomes and gene expression (example: Interferon β)
5. Insulators (example: gypsy and su(Hw))
6. Chromatin, nucleosomes and the histone code
7. Chromatin remodeling complexes
8. Non-coding RNA and transcriptional control.

D. Transcription elongation (1 lecture)
II.  Post-transcriptional control of gene expression (Moon)
A. Processing of eukaryotic pre-mRNA (1 lecture)
  1. Capping, polyadenylation, splicing
  2. Coupling of transcription and processing events
B. Regulation of pre-mRNA processing (4 lectures)
  1. Splice site recognition
  2. Alternative splicing/splice site selection
  3. RNA editing
  4. Molecular consequences of RNA processing
C) Review Session (1 lecture)
III. Signal transduction and Post-transcriptional cytoplasmic control of gene expression (Schoeck)
A. Macromolecular transport across the nuclear envelope (2 lectures)
1. Nuclear import and export
2. Regulated transport of transcription factors
3. Nuclear export of mRNPs
4. Transport of unspliced transcripts
B. Cytoplasmic mechanisms of post-transcriptional control (5 lectures)
1. mRNA degradation: decapping, deadenylation, nonsense-mediated decay
2. mRNA localization
3. Cytoplasmic polyadenylation
4. Translational repression
5. Regulation of translation initiation
6. Translational Regulation and Unfolded Protein Response
7. Feedback regulation of protein folding
8. Micro RNAs and regulation of mRNA translation and stability
C. Biochemical and genetic principles of signal transduction (3 lectures)
1. Biochemical isolation of ligands and receptors
2. Ligand binding to receptors
3. Kinases and their analysis
4. Genetic analysis of signal transduction cascades
D. G protein-linked receptors (2 lectures)
1. Signaling through cAMP (example: fight-or-flight response)
2. Signaling through ion channels (example: vision)
3. Signaling through inositol phospholipids (example: CamKII-mediated short-term memory)
E. Enzyme-linked receptors and intracellular receptors (4 lectures)
1. Receptor tyrosine kinases (example: eye development)
2. Integrins (example: upregulation of RTK signaling in cancer)
3. Cytokine receptors
4. Receptor serine/threonine kinases
5. Intracellular receptors
F. Principles of developmental signaling (1 lecture)
1. Signal memory
2. Lateral inhibition (example: Notch signaling)
G. Review Session (1 lecture)
Molecular Cell Biology, 8h edition, 2016, 2012, by Lodish, Berk, Kaiser, Krieger, and others.
Three lectures per week
Mid-term exam; Final exam.
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 for more information).

Last update: March 21, 2017