Molecular Cell Biology


Course Objective

This course will provide a basic understanding of Molecular Cell
Biology. Students will learn basic principles of Molecular Cell Biology
in relation to the disease Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. This
is a crippling disease and thus severely affects the movement apparatus,
with progressive heterotopic bone formation. It is caused by a mutation
of a Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP)- receptor.

This knowledge is incorporated throughout the course and is reiterated
every class. For instance: in terms of hereditary: how does the
mutation arise? What consequences does it have at the mRNA level? What
is known at the protein level and how does that influence cell-
signaling? ( T.J. de Vries).

Four classes are dedicated to quantitative molecular biology (RNAseq,
microarray) and on how to interfere with gene expression making use of
cloning techniques and RNA interference (dr. D. Deng). Stem cells, and
IPS-cells and their possible use to cure the disease will be dealt with.
To make the bridge to the practical, an explanatory class will provide
the background knowledge required to do the practical. A special working
group is dedicated on reading specialized Molecular Cell Biological
literature where the latest insight information on the disease is
provided. ( T.J. de Vries, T. Schoenmaker).

The two-days practical will analyze gene expression from fibroblasts
from controls and patients. Findings will be presented in a report that
has the format of a small research article.

Course Content

This course provides an overview and insight into (1) general aspects of
molecular biology, (2) molecular biology in relation to movement
(muscles, nerves, bone, tendon), and (3) use of modern molecular
biological techniques.
A general overview of molecular biology will be presented. Topics will
be discussed like structure and function of DNA, RNA, siRNA,
transcription and translation. In addition interference with gene
expression will be discussed (e.g., gene transfection, deletion).
Molecular aspects of movement will be discussed with an emphasis on
functioning of muscles, nerves, bones and tendon, as well as other
tissues in relation to movement and non-movement. A central issue will
be the question how movement or the lack of movement affects the
activity and protein expression of the cells associated with these
Finally an in-depth insight in modern biological strategies for the
analyses of (defects in) the above mentioned molecular aspects of
movement and the tissues involved will be presented.
The following techniques and their applications in cell biology will be
1.mutation detection, important for understanding effects of genomic
mutations on cellular functioning;
2.RT-PCR, a breakthrough technique developed in the 1980's, which
enables the study of gene expression and its relevance for physiological
or pathological processes in minute biological samples;
3.DNA-sequencing, DNA-microarrays, transcriptomics and proteomics,
elegant and valuable tools for studying gene-variations and gene-
expression of a large number of genes in one biological sample;
4.RNA interference, a technique of the last decade with which you can
inhibit the expression of specific RNA's, used to study the function of
different genes;
5.Bioinformatics, the development, validation and application of
computational techniques to the management, analyses and understanding
of biological information.
Ultimate learning objective is to know more about molecular biology and
its role in answering movement related research projects.

Teaching Methods

Class 1+2: Introduction and DNA and Chromosomes
Class 3+4: From DNA to protein, Control of gene regulation
Class 5+6: Molecular cloning techniques
Class 7+8: Quantitative molecular techniques
Class 9+10: Cell signaling
Class 11+12: Preparation for the practical.
Working group: How to read current Molecular Cell Biological literature
on FOP?
Practical days 1 and 2.

Method of Assessment

Open-ended questions (2/3 of the final grade) and written report of the
practicals (1/3 of the final grade)

Entry Requirements

No entry requirements.


Essential Cell Biology by Alberts, Bray Hopkin, Johnson, Lewis, Raff,
Roberts, Walter. Fourth Edition. Garland ScienceISBN 978-0-8153-4454-4
(2014), Chapters: 5,7,8,10,16.
Scientific research articles will be provided.

General Information

Credits 3 EC
Period P4
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Fac. of Behavioural and Movement Science
Course Coordinator dr. ir. T.J. de Vries
Examiner dr. ir. T.J. de Vries
Teaching Staff dr. ir. T.J. de Vries
dr. D. Deng
A.M. Schoenmaker

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture, Practical