BSc Biochemistry / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Cell Adhesion (L)

Unit code BIOL31771
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Cell adhesion is critical for all aspects of cell functioning in multicellular organisms. It is essential for building patterned tissues, maintaining their architecture and regulating their differentiation and behaviour. Many of the major diseases affecting mankind progress through disrupted cellular adhesion. This unit will explore established concepts and the latest advances in controlling basic cellular functions, examine what happens when adhesion systems become defective, and will assess the molecular details of how different classes of adhesion receptors work.

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
The Dynamic Cell BIOL21121 Pre-Requisite Recommended

Aims

Cell adhesion is critical for all aspects of cell function in multicellular organisms. Cell interactions with the extracellular matrix and with each other are required for building patterned tissues, maintaining their architecture, and regulating their differentiation and behaviour. Alterations in normal adhesion mechanisms are also central in the progression of many of the major diseases affecting mankind. The aim of this unit is to consider the molecular details of how different classes of adhesion receptors work, to explore established concepts and the latest advances of how they control basic cellular functions, and to examine what happens when adhesion systems become defective.

Learning outcomes

A detailed understanding of the central role of cell adhesion in animal biology; the molecular biology of cell adhesion systems; how adhesion links to cell migration, proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and to development; how these controls break down in human diseases.

Syllabus

An introduction to the concepts of adhesion and its importance in biology will be followed by specialist topics, each covering the relevant areas of cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion, signalling, development, animal models and human diseases, delivered using a range of lectures, podcasts and workshop based discussions; 4 class presentations on self-directed learning. The topics covered will include:

•       Adhesion and a multicellular existence.

•       Structural dynamics of adhesion systems.

•       Principles of adhesion signalling.

•       Cell migration guidance.

•       Cell polarity and tissue morphogenesis.

•       Sensing and responding to biomechanical forces.

•       Coordination of multicellularity and morphogenesis

•       Cell adhesion in organ function

•       Class presentations.

Employability skills

Oral communication
Students will do one journal club presentation. 7 to 10 students per presentation, x 4 lecture slots.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 75%
Written assignment (inc essay) 20%
Oral assessment/presentation 5%

Written examination

          2.5 hours written examination (75%), consisting of two essays (2 out of 6 questions)

 

Set exercise

          Students will receive a research paper forming the basis for self-directed learning and a group based project.

          1,500 word essay (self-directed learning, 20%)

Group based project (journal club presentation, 5%)

Feedback methods

a) Written feedback on essay; b) verbal feedback on class presentation; c) feedback on exam scripts after the January exams.

Recommended reading

Compulsory

            Alberts B. et al (2015) Molecular Biology of the Cell (6th edition). Garland Science

                        Chapter 19 Cell Junctions and the Extracellular Matrix

                                    “Cell-cell junctions”

                                    “The extracellular matrix of animals”

                                    “Cell-matrix junctions”

                      Chapter 15 Cell Signaling

                                    “Principles of Cell Signaling”

                      Chapter 16 The Cytoskeleton

 

Journal articles and reviews as directed by each lecturer

                                 

Recommended

Alberts B. et al (2015) Molecular Biology of the Cell (6th edition). Garland Science

Lewin, B. et al (2014) Cells (3rd edition). Jones & Bartlett

Lodish, H. et al. (2016) Molecular Cell Biology (8th edition). Palgrave Macmillan Higher ed

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2.5
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 79.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Patrick Caswell Unit coordinator

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