MOB-30306 Control of Cellular Processes and Cell Differentiation


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical extensively supervised4
Problem-based learning6
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. T Bisseling
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. T Bisseling
dr. ir. JE Wellink
prof. dr. SC de Vries
Examiner(s)prof. dr. T Bisseling
prof. dr. SC de Vries

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

BIC-20306 Cell Physiology & Genetics
BIC-20806 Enzymology
MOB-20306 Gene Technology

Continuation courses:

MOB-31303 Molecular Development


Biochemical and Molecular (Cell) Biology research has resulted into new insights in the strategies cells use to regulate their processes. These molecular concepts will be discussed in this course. This includes the biochemistry of regulatory strategies of cellular processes, the biochemistry of signal-transducing pathways and the human sensory systems. The hormonal and enzymatic regulation of glycogen metabolism will be discussed as an example of regulation of a whole process. The biochemical part of this course will be finished by studying actual topics related to regulatory strategies in a small group. At the end of the course, the results of these studies will be presented in a lecture.
Genome wide sequence analysis has resulted in the identification of all the genes of several organisms. This can be seen as the climax of research driven by a reductionisms approach. With all the building blocks (ao proteins) at hand, the most important challenge in biology is a more synthetic approach to try to understand the connections between the building blocks. This part of the lectures will be centered on the theme Cancer. Tumor cells are in general formed when genes controlling the cell cycle, DNA repair, apoptosis, nuclear organisation or cell mobility are mutated (cancer is a DNA disease). Therefore studies on mechanisms underlying cancer formation have provided major insight in how these processes are controlled.
It is essential to study the behaviour and interaction of molecules in a living cell which has a very different context (molecular crowding) from the diluted solutions, which have been mostly used for these studies. An introduction will be given in several innovative light microscopic techniques (FRAP, FRET) that are very suitable to study this. With the help of a digital case a more mathematical background of the mechanisms that drive the cell cycle (involving stable steady states, transitions, feedback loops, thresholds, oscillations) will be explained.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course, the student is expected:
- to have insight in strategies of cells to regulate cellular processes;
- to have insight in biochemistry of signal-transducing pathways and the human sensory systems and in hormonal and enzymatic regulation at a molecular level in relation to diseases such as cancer;
- to understand how chromatin and RNAi control gene expression;
- to have insight in the cell cycle, apoptosis and DNA repair and understand the relation between these processes with development and cancer;
- to have basic knowledge in how to translate a cell biological process in a mathematical model;
- to have insight in the behaviour and interactions of proteins in living cells and to have knowledge of advanced microscopic techniques that are used to study this;
- to be able to collect, arrange and critically analyse literature data dealing with regulation of cellular processes.


Lectures, computer based learning, reading literature, discussions and presentations on specific topics.


The final mark will be based on a written examination with open questions and on the quality of the presentations.


The theoretical background can be found in Molecular Biology of the Cell, Alberts et al., Garland Science, and Biochemistry, Berg et al., Freeman.

Compulsory for: MMLMolecular Life SciencesMScB: Biological Chemistry1AF
Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScA: Cell Biology1AF
MBTBiotechnologyMScC: Medical Biotechnology1AF
MBTBiotechnologyMScF: Marine Biotechnology1AF
MBTBiotechnologyMScA: Cellular/Molecular Biotechnology1AF
MBTBiotechnologyMScB: Food Biotechnology1AF
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMScA: Biomedical Research1AF
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMScC: Physical Biology1AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology1AF