20514 Receptors and Signal Transduction

Credits: 3 advanced seminar credits in Life Sciences

Prerequisites: 36 credits in the Sciences, including Biochemistry I, Cell Structure and Function (single-semester format or year-long format) and Genetics.1 Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

The course is based on a reader edited by Miriam Souroujon.

The process by which cells receive, transduce and respond to signals is vitally important in all activities that characterize the term “life.” This process includes nervous system activity, muscle contraction, fetal development and differentiation, as well as hormonal regulation of growth, cell division and metabolism. Interest in cellular signal transduction pathways has increased in recent years following identification of many cellular oncogenes encoded into the components of these pathways and the understanding that their malfunction plays a key role in the development of malignant tumors.

In various intercellular signal systems, scientists today understand the composition and structure of the unique receptors on the target cells as well as the various ways in which the signals received by the cell are transduced and modified in the cell, sometimes in a complex chain of events, until the induction or regulation of the encoded response of the target cell.

The course introduces the student to the molecular mechanisms underlying intercellular communication, acquaints students with experimental methods for studying these processes, and develops their ability to distinguish between conclusions based on experiments and unanswered questions. After studying the materials, students submit a seminar paper on a selected topic, orally and in writing.

1or the previous version of the course, From Mendelism to Genetic Engineering.