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Cell Signaling in Health and Disease

CRN 44238
Winter 2016
Course Instructor: Dr. James Trimmer (
Tues-Thurs 10:30-11:50 AM
Medical Science C 180
Required Readings
Molecular Biology of the Cell Sixth edition (Alberts et al., 2015)*
Other material as assigned
This course will make frequent use of the Personal Response (Clicker) System and will require the use of
laptop computers or tablets.
1/5/16 (T)
1/7/16 (R)
1/12/16 (T)
1/14/16 (R)
1/19/16 (T)
1/21/16 (R)
1/26/16 (T)
1/28/16 (R)
2/2/16 (T)
2/4/16 (R)
2/9/16 (T)
2/11/16 (R)
2/16/16 (T)
2/18/16 (R)
2/23/16 (T)
2/25/16 (R)
3/1/16 (T)
3/3/16 (R)
3/8/16 (T)
3/10/16 (R)


Overview of course and of cell signaling

Signals, receptors, ligand-receptor binding-1
Ligand-receptor binding-2, membrane potentials-1
Fast synaptic signaling, ligand-gated ion channels
Action potentials and fast intracellular signaling, voltage-gated ion channels
Channelopathies, drugs targeting ion channels, anti-epileptic drugs, drug discovery
Midterm Exam I (lectures 1-6)
GPCR basics, G proteins as signal transducers
Diseases of G proteins, cyclic nucleotides, PKA, regulation of glycogen metabolism
Inositol triphosphate, cell calcium, PKC, Calcium, calmodulin, CamKII, CaN
Protein kinases and phosphatases, desensitization. GPCR dimerization
Sensory systems: taste, smell, vision
Sensory systems: heat
Midterm Exam II (lectures 8-13)
Growth factors, receptor and non-receptor tyrosine kinases
Regulation of gene expression and epigenetics
Growth factor regulation of gene expression and cancer
Insulin receptor and diabetes
Integration and crosstalk
Final Exam (non-cumulative, lectures 15-19). In class.

Six clicker-based quizzes total throughout quarter (two per each third of course), 10% of course grade
Three Exams
1/26/16 (T)
2/18/16 (R)
3/10/16 (R)

Midterm Exam I (30% of course grade). In class.

Midterm Exam II (30% of course grade). In class.
Final Exam (30% of course grade). In class.

*You may also consult the 4th edition of Alberts et al., that is available free online
( but you will need to find the appropriate sections on your own.
Lecture powerpoints, podcasts and other course material will be posted on SmartSite. Pre-lecture material will
be posted on SmartSite prior to the lecture.
Reading: from Alberts et al. Sixth Edition and from other sources as assigned in class.
Office hours: Instructor:

Room 197 Briggs


1:00-2:00 PM

Learning objectives:
1) Describe the molecular and cellular signal transduction mechanisms that mediate cellular communication to
achieve cellular responses
2) Describe how these are altered in disease
3) Describe how these serve as targets for existing drugs and for drug discovery
4) Develop critical thinking and analytical skills, and effective scientific writing

Three exams will be given during the quarter, two midterms and one final. Each exam will be weighted equally
towards the final grade (30% each). The questions on exams 2 and 3 may require incorporating material
presented at any time in the course up to that point, but will primarily focus on material presented in lectures
preceding the most recent exam. On the subject of make-up exams- If you miss either exam 1 or 2 and have
received written approval to do so from the instructor at least two weeks in advance of the exam, or if ill have
provided the instriuctor a physicians note within 24 hours of the exam, the subsequent exam will count for 60%
of your total grade instead of 30%. Otherwise you will receive a zero for each exam missed. There will be no
make-up exams for either of these midterms. Make-ups will only be considered for the final exam and this
must be arranged within 48 hours of the final exam (by 10:30 AM March 11). Anyone missing the final exam
without two weeks prior approval or written notice from a physician by the deadline will receive a failing grade
in the course. Exam notes (a summary of what I want you to know) will be provided following each lecture.
Questions on the exam will be short answer and short essay requiring clear and succinct answers. Exam
questions will emphasize the central points discussed in lecture. When the exams are returned there maybe
those who question the accuracy or fairness of grading on certain questions. It is unlikely that I will regrade
individual exams differently than they were graded for the entire class. After midterm exams are returned in
class you will have 48 hours to give me a very short written statement as to why you think a particular answer
deserved more points. After 48 hours has passed I will not honor any further requests. Remember that should
you request a regrade the entire exam will be regraded and it is possible that you will end up with a lower
overall score on the exam, even if you received extra points on the particular question that you appealed. As
per University policy no regrade requests will be considered for the final exam with the exception of those for
clerical errors.
There will also be six quizzes given in class over the quarter for a total of 10% of your final grade. The quiz
questions will be multiple choice format via Clicker, or written short answer or short essay format, and will
strongly resemble the questions that will be on the subsequent exam.
I want this course to be instructional and fun. This requires that you put your thinking cap on during lectures,
ask questions and keep up with the material. If you are having any problems with the course I encourage you
to come to my office hours and review sessions. Make every effort to come during the assigned hours or e-mail
to make an appointment.

Alberts et al. Sixth Edition Reading

Chapter 15: General principles of cell communications, pp. 813-828
Chapter 3: Protein function, pp. 134-140, Chapter 15: Intracellular receptors, pp. 874-876
Chapter 11: Principles of membrane transport, pp. 597-600, Ion channels pp. 611-627
Chapter 11: Ion channels pp. 627-636
Chapter 11: Ion channels pp. 636-638
Midterm Exam I (30% of grade)
Chapter 15: Signaling through GPCRs. .pp. 832-836
Chapter 15: Signaling through GPCRs.. pp. 832-836
Chapter 15: Signaling through GPCRs.. pp. 836-843
Chapter 15: Signaling through GPCRs.. pp. 836-843, 153-155
Chapter 15: Signaling through GPCRs.. pp. 830-831, 848-849
Chapter 15: Signaling through GPCRs .. pp. 843-846, 848
Midterm Exam II (30% of grade)
Chapter 15: Signaling through enzyme-coupled receptors pp. 850-854
Chapter 15: Signaling through enzyme-coupled receptors. pp. 854-857, 859-861, 155-156
Chapter 15: Chromatin structure, pp. 196-197. Transcriptional switches pp. 384-392, 396.
Chapter 4: Finding cancer-critical genes, pp. 1104-1110
Chapter 15: RTKs and GPCRs Overlap.pp. 861-862.
Final Exam (30% of course grade)