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Molecular Cell Biology II

Instructors: Daria Siekhaus, Tobias Bollenbach

Teaching Assistants: Martin Lukačišin, Vera Belyaeva


This course starts on Monday, March 02, 2015  and takes place on

Mondays and Wednesdays 13:45-15:00Evolutionary Biology Room, Central Building 1st Floor (next to John Bollback's office)

Recitations: Thursdays 15:15-16:05Central Building, Seminar Room 3rd floor (next to Chris Lampert's office)

Students will learn about eukaryotic cell biology through lectures and dissection of the primary literature. Topics included will be the structures of cells, secreted and membrane protein targeting, the cytoskeleton, vesicular trafficking, cell signaling, and cell migration. Quantitative and interdisciplinary perspectives on the topics will be highlighted. Students will further develop their independent thinking, knowledge of the techniques utilized in these areas, and ability to critically assess the literature.




Extensive reading in preparation for discussions, recitations, an exam at the end of the half-term consisting of a presentation.



Final examination

Select a paper, present, defend it, tell us why you like it, tell us what you would do next; done in a team of two students; each group has 20 min to present the paper followed by 10 min for questions and discussion; no powerpoint.


Date Topic Readings
(non-biologists, biologists, everybody)
ECB=Essential Cell Biology; MBC=Alberts Molecular Biology of the Cell
Week 1 Structure of cell/membrane, how secreted proteins and membrane proteins start their journey  
March 2 Basics of course plan, cell structures and membrane insertion ECB 1:1-26,15:495-509
MBC pp26-30, 12:695-704, 12:723-745
March 4 Signal sequences direct membrane proteins for translocation across membrane Walter & Blobel (1981) JCB 91:557-561
Materials and Methods section of Walter, Ibrahimi & Blobel (1981) JCB 91:545-550
(bonus) Gunter Blobel: Nobel Prize Lecture
March 5
Regulation of actin filament assembly by Arp2/3 complex and formins ECB 17:571-598
MBC 16:962-1025
Pollard (2007) Ann Rev Biophys and Biomol Struct 36:451-477
Week 2 Cytoskeleton and self-organization of the internal scaffolds of the cell  
March 9 Reconstitution of actin-based motility of Listeria and Shigella using pure proteins Loisel et al. (1999) Nature 401:613-6
March 11 Dynamic instability of microtubule growth Mitchison & Kirschner (1984) Nature 312:237-42
March 12
Secretory protein biogenesis and traffic in the early secretory pathway ECB 15:510-528,
MBC 13:749-top of 787
Barlowe & Miller (2013) Genetics 193:383-410
Week 3 Vesicular trafficking, how proteins destined for secretion or intracellular compartment or cell membrane continue their journey  
March 16 Identification of 23 complementation groups required for post-translational events in the yeast secretory pathway Novick, Field & Schekman (1980) Cell, 21:205-215
(bonus) Schekman Nobel lecture:
March 18 Reconstitution of the transport of protein between successive compartments of the Golgi measured by the coupled incorporation of N-acetylglucosamine Balch, Dumphy, Braell & Rothman (1984) Cell 39:405-416
(bonus) Rothman Nobel lecture:
March 19
Regulation of cell polarity during eukaryotic chemotaxis: the chemotactic compass ECB 16:532-568
MBC 15:879-905
Weiner (2002) Curr Opin Cell Biol 14:196-202
Week 4 Signaling and polarity in migrating cells  
March 23 Divergent signals and cytoskeletal assemblies regulate self-organizing polarity in neutrophils Xu et al. (2003) Cell 114:201-14
March 25 A local coupling model and compass parameter for eukaryotic chemotaxis Arrieumerlou & Meyer (2005) Dev Cell 8:215-27
March 26
Cell migration: integrating signals from front to back MBC 16:1037-1050
Ridley et al. (2003) Science 302:1704-9
Week 5 Actin dynamics and force transmission during migration  
April 13 Actin microfilament dynamics in locomoting cells Theriot & Mitchison (1991) Nature 352:126-31
(potentially) Watanabe & Mitchison (2002) Science 295:1083-6
April 15 Adaptive force transmission in amoeboid cell migration Renkawitz et al. (2009) Nat Cell Biol 11:1438-43
April 16
Collective cell migration in morphogenesis, regeneration and cancer Friedl & Gilmour (2009) Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:445-57
Week 6 Collective migration of cells in vivo  
April 20 Light-mediated activation reveals a key role for Rac in collective guidance of cell movement in vivo Wang et al. (2010) Nat Cell Biol 12:591-7
April 22 Generation and dynamics of an endogenous, self-generated signaling gradient across a migrating tissue Venkiteswaran et al. (2013) Cell 155:674-87
April 23
Directional tissue migration through a self-generated chemokine gradient Donà et al. (2013) Nature 503:285-9

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