Cell Structures and Functions


Course Objective

The first aim of the course is to refresh and deepen the knowledge of
the students in a number a selected topics of Molecular Cell Biology.
These topics include the folding, modification and sorting of proteins
in cells. How do proteins fold in their correct and active three-
dimensional structure? How do proteins reach their correct destination
in the cell (organelles, plasma membrane)? How do proteins insert and
assemble in membranes, how are they translocated across membranes? How
are these processes related to disease and drug development? The
students will gain insight in the most recent research data and
theories. Also, the students will get information on state-of-the-art
methods and techniques used in this field such as fractionation of
cells, determination of protein structure, proteomics, molecular
interaction/crosslinking techniques and visualization of cells and cell
Of note, the objective is not to obtain a comprehensive overview of cell
biology. After the general "refreshment" and technical part (first
week), a few selected topics will be discussed in depth with guest
lecturers based on reviews and primary research papers (second and third
Related to this, the second and most important aim of the course is to
learn how to read,
appreciate and discuss reviews and primary research papers on various
Final attainment levels:
-General knowledge of indicated cell biology topics
relevant for the course at the level of the "big" "Molecular Biology of
the Cell" (Alberts et al.)
-In depth knowledge on the selected topics provided by guest lecturers
-Ability to interpret and discuss newly acquired primary literature

Course Content

See "form of tuition".

Teaching Methods

In the first part of the course (one week) students will study and
discuss in working groups part III (methods) and part IV (internal
organization of the cell) of the book: "Molecular Biology of the Cell"
(Alberts et al.). Chapter by chapter the students will be guided through
the book and questions will be answered. Excursions will be organized to
labs specialized in specific techniques (10 contact hours).
In the second part of the course (about two weeks; 20 contact hours)
specific topics (protein trafficking, protein insertion into membranes,
membrane protein function, glycosylation and quality control) will be
studied and discussed with lecturers from the VU and other universities.
Each lecturer will present a seminar and discuss with the students very
recent research papers and developments in his/her particular area of
interest. The reviews and papers will be available via Canvas before
the lectures.
The third part (last week) of the course will be used to study and to
prepare for the exam.

Method of Assessment

A written exam with essay questions in which the Alberts book and print-
outs of papers discussed by the lecturers can be used (open book exam)
as well as a calculator. There will be appr. 6 essay questions about the
papers presented by the lecturers
and 2 questions about the relevant topics in Alberts and cell biology
techniques (presented in week 1).

Entry Requirements

A bachelor degree in biology, medical biology, biomedical sciences or
biochemistry. Basic (bachelor) knowledge of cell biology, microbiology,
molecular biology and molecular genetics is required.


Chapters from Molecular Biology of the Cell (Alberts, Johnson, Lewis,
Raff, Roberts,
Walter) Fifth edition, Garland Sciences.
Research papers presented by the lecturers: links available via
Canvas 1 month prior to the course.

Target Audience

Master students Biomolecular Sciences

Additional Information

Maximum number of participants: 50
E-mail: s.luirink@vu.nl
Guest lecturers (subject to reservation) Dr. B. Kleizen, Dr. X. de Haan
and Dr. P. van der Sluijs (UU), Prof. P. Peters (Universiteit
Maastricht) and Prof.
T. Sixma (NKI), Dr. S. Piersma (VUmc), Dr. P. van Ulsen (VU)

General Information

Course Code AM_470615
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. S. Luirink
Examiner dr. S. Luirink
Teaching Staff dr. S. Luirink

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

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