Caput RNA Biology


Course Objective

Study goals:
The student is able to:
- describe the various classes of RNAs in eukaryotic cells generated by
RNA Pol I, II, and III
- explain the functions of the various RNA classes and the significance
of 3D structure
- describe and explain the mechanisms of catalytic RNAs, also in
connection with the 'RNA-world' hypothesis
- describe the various ways and regulation of RNA processing, including
the abundant alternative splicing in higher eukaryotes
- explain the tight connection between transcription and RNA processing
- indicate how nuclear and organellar RNAs are edited and explain what
the functions are of this editing
- explain how RNA transport occurs and how it is regulated
- review the various proteins associated with RNAs and explain their
- describe the mechanisms and regulation of RNA degradation and the
biological significance of differences in RNA half-life
- explain the functions of short- and long non-protein encoding RNAs,
illustrated with examples
- describe the connection between non-coding RNAs and epigenetics
- interpret the phenotypic consequences, developmental defects and
diseases that are due to 'RNA-defects'
- apply the various techniques that are used to detect and examine RNAs
and determine their function

Course Content

By studying the subjects discussed in the book and research - and review
articles, you will become familiar with all aspects of RNAs, from their
synthesis and processing, up to their cellular function. In addition to
the well-known mRNAs, tRNAs and rRNAs, many small and long non-coding
RNAs have been discovered. From the majority of these RNAs, the function
is unknown, including the way they are processed (alternative splicing),
their bases modified, catalytic properties, and with which proteins they
interact. So, there is a whole RNA-world to be discovered, which seems
as rich as the protein-world. Given the central role of RNAs in cells,
it is not surprising that various human diseases are due to the aberrant
synthesis, regulation and functioning of RNAs, a subject that will also
be covered.
See also the Study Goals.

Teaching Methods

Mainly Self-study, and regular meetings with the lecturer, 1-2 times a

Method of Assessment

Written exam, consisting of open questions

Entry Requirements

A solid background in molecular biology and understanding of gene


- Book: Molecular Biology of RNA by David Elliot & Michael Ladomery,
Oxford Press, second edition, ISBN 978-0-19-967139-7
- Research and review articles on the CANVAS site

Target Audience

Students of master programs Biomolecular Sciences, Biomedical Sciences,
and Oncology

Additional Information

Course can be taken throughout the year except for the period 1.

Custom Course Registration

Via VUnet and mail to coordinator, dr. JM Kooter

General Information

Course Code AM_1208
Credits 6 EC
Period P2+3+4+5+6
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. J.M. Kooter
Examiner dr. J.M. Kooter
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: