2017 Molecular Biology I

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Life Science and Technology
Iwasaki Hiroshi  Yamaguchi Yuki  Hirota Junji  Kajikawa Masaki  Nakashima Nobutaka  Aizawa Yasunori 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue7-8(H101)  Fri7-8(H101)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
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Course description and aims

The focus of this course is on the three components of the “Central Dogma”: DNA replication, transcription, and translation. In addition, the course will cover topics that stem from the Central Dogma: DNA repair, recombination, RNA processing, post-translational modification, protein folding, and mechanisms that remove defective proteins (protein quality control).

The major course goal is to provide students with a strong foundation in the cellular processes that are essential for life. This foundation is needed for advanced studies in biology and for applied studies (i.e. bioengineering and biotechnology).

Molecular Biology I is designed to be taken with Molecular Biology II and Biochemistry I and II. Students are advised to enroll in all four courses in order to receive optimal instruction.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. explain the detailed molecular mechanisms of DNA replication, transcription, and translation, which compose the central dogma.
2. explain the molecular mechanisms of diverse processes associated with the central dogma, such as DNA repair, DNA recombination, RNA processing, post-translational modifications, protein folding, and quality controls of proteins.


The central dogma, DNA replication, transcription, translation, DNA repair, DNA recombination, RNA processing, chromatin, epigenetics, protein folding, post-translational modification.

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Lectures will typically begin with a review of the previous lecture (In the first 10-15 min). Sometimes, a quiz will be given at the end of the lecture to check student progress (In the last 10-15 min).

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 DNA Structures Understand the DNA double helix structure. Students must be able to explain DNA topology and the functions of DNA topoisomerases.
Class 2 Chromosome structure and functions Understand human and bacterial chromosome structures. Students must be able to explain chromatin and bacterial nucleoid structures, centromeres and bacterial partitioning elements, and telomeres. In addition, students will be introduced to methods used for genome studies.
Class 3 DNA replication: an overview Understand DNA replication. Students must be able to explain critical replication-related questions such as semi-conservative replication, topological issues, and chromosome initiation and termination problems.
Class 4 Regulation of DNA replication Understand molecular mechanisms of each step of DNA replication.
Class 5 DNA repair Understand major DNA repair pathways: base excision repair, nucleotide excision repair, mismatch repair, and DNA double strand break repair.
Class 6 Recombination and mobile genetic elements Understand the physiological significance of homologous recombination and the molecular mechanism. In addition, students must understand the molecular mechanisms of transposon mediated transposition.
Class 7 Transcription: an overview Understand gene structure, functions of RNA polymerases, and general concepts of initiation, elongation and termination of transcription.
Class 8 Regulation of transcription in bacteria Understand the lac and trp operons as important examples of the regulation of transcription at the molecular level.
Class 9 Regulation of transcription in eukaryotic cells Understand structures and functions of enhancers and transcriptional regulators in eukaryotic cells.
Class 10 Chromatin regulation and epigenetics Understand epigenetic gene regulation in eukaryotic cells at the molecular level.
Class 11 Post-transcriptional modification of mRNA Understand molecular mechanisms of capping, splicing and polyadenylation. In addition, students must understand regulation mechanisms and the physiological significance of alternative splicing.
Class 12 Processing of non-coding RNA and RNA degradation Understand processing of non-coding RNA, ribozymes, RNA degradation and RNA interference.
Class 13 Translation: an overview Understand how codons were determined. Understand tRNA structures, ribosome function, and aminoacyl tRNA synthetases. Finally, students must understand the molecular mechanisms of initiation, elongation and termination of translation.
Class 14 Protein folding and post-translational modification Understand protein folding, roles of molecular chaperones and post-translational modification.
Class 15 Protein degradation Understand the quality controls that remove defective proteins and the related ubiquitin-proteasome, lysosome and prion diseases.


Biochemistry, 4th Edition (Donald Voet, Judith G. Voet, Wiley)

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Molecular Biology of the Cell
(Bruce Alberts et al., Garland Science)

Assessment criteria and methods

Students will be assessed on their knowledge of course material and their ability to use this knowledge for problem solving. Student course scores will be based on the final examination.

Related courses

  • LST.A203 : Biochemistry I
  • LST.A213 : Molecular Biology II
  • LST.A218 : Biochemistry II

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequites are necessary, but enrollment in Biochemistry I is desirable.

Contact information (e-mail and phone)    Notice : Please replace from "[at]" to "@"(half-width character).

Iawasaki: hiwasaki[at]bio.titech.ac.jp, Yamaguchi: yyamaguc[at]bio.titech.ac.jp, Hirota: jhirota[at]bio.titech.ac.jp, Nakashima: nnakashima[at]bio.titech.ac.jp

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