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.
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.
|✔ Specialist skills||Intercultural skills||Communication skills||✔ Critical thinking skills||Practical and/or problem-solving skills|
In every class, a quiz will be given to check students' comprehension after an hour of lecture. After a brief discussion of quiz questions, answer sheets will be collected and used as material for grading. Approximate time allocation is as follows:
Lecture: 50–60 min
Quiz: 20 min
Discussion: 20–30 min
|Course schedule||Required learning|
|Class 1||DNA Structures||Understand the DNA double helix structure and human and bacterial chromosome structures. Students must be able to explain DNA topology, the functions of DNA topoisomerases, chromatin structures, centromeres, and telomeres.|
|Class 2||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 3||Regulation of DNA replication||Understand molecular mechanisms of each step of DNA replication.|
|Class 4||DNA repair||Understand major DNA repair pathways: base excision repair, nucleotide excision repair, mismatch repair, and DNA double strand break repair.|
|Class 5||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 6||Transcription: an overview||Understand gene structure, functions of RNA polymerases, and general concepts of initiation, elongation and termination of transcription.|
|Class 7||Regulation of transcription in bacteria||Understand the lac and trp operons as important examples of the regulation of transcription at the molecular level.|
|Class 8||Regulation of transcription in eukaryotic cells||Understand structures and functions of enhancers and transcriptional regulators in eukaryotic cells.|
|Class 9||Chromatin regulation and epigenetics||Understand epigenetic gene regulation in eukaryotic cells at the molecular level.|
|Class 10||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 11||Processing of non-coding RNA and RNA degradation||Understand processing of non-coding RNA, ribozymes, RNA degradation and RNA interference.|
|Class 12||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 13||Protein folding and post-translational modification||Understand protein folding, roles of molecular chaperones and post-translational modification.|
|Class 14||Protein degradation||Understand the quality controls that remove defective proteins and the related ubiquitin-proteasome, lysosome, and prion diseases.|
To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend plenty of time for preparation and review for each class while referring to textbooks and other course material.
Molecular Biology of the Cell 6th Ed (Bruce Alberts et al., Garland Science)
Biochemistry, 4th Edition (Donald Voet, Judith G. Voet, Wiley)
Molecular Biology of the Gene 7th Ed (James D, Watson et al., Pearson)
Quiz: 35 points (2.5 points x 14 times)
End-term exam: 65 points
No prerequites are necessary, but enrollment in Biochemistry I is desirable.
Yamaguchi: yyamaguc[at]bio.titech.ac.jp, Aizawa: yaizawa[at]bio.titech.ac.jp, Kajikawa: mkaji[at]bio.titech.ac.jp