(Core Course in Molecular and Cellular Biology)

This Course is not offered 2017-2018


This course covers the area of molecular biology called the structure and function of nucleic acids including DNA replication, recombination and repair, DNA and RNA polymerases, telomerases, and several aspects of mRNA processing and metabolism. The topics on the structure of nucleic acids will focus primarily on DNA bending, DNA supercoiling and RNA folding as determined by molecular and biochemical techniques.  he enzymatic systems involved in DNA and RNA synthesis including polymerases and telomerases will be described.  Processes such as DNA recombination, repair and transposition will be examined.  Several aspects of RNA metabolism including post-transcriptional processing, translation and degradation will be studied and the functioning of catalytic RNA such as ribozymes will be examined in detail.  Other topics on nucleic acids will include the study of DNA- or RNA-protein interactions and genomics. Students are expected at the end of the course to summarize the recent advances on one of the topics described above in an oral presentation and to write a critical review on a subject pertaining to the structure and function of nucleic acids.  Not all topics will be discussed  each time the course is offered.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses in biochemistry and molecular biology. The course will be offered as 3 hr lecture per week for 6 weeks.



Oral presentation(s)          40%
Critical review essay         40%
Class participation             20%

The oral presentation will be 30-minutes in length and will focus on a topic in the area  of nucleic acid structure and function.  The presentation will be followed by a class discussion. Students will also be expected to write a 3000-4000 word critical review essay on a related topic.  Reading material including recent research and review articles will be distributed and discussed in class.


All materials for this course will be provided by original research and review articles in the current literature.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA
The EMBO Journal
Annual Review of Genetics
Molecular and Cellular Biology
The Journal of Molecular Biology
Genes and Development
Annual Review of Biochemistry
The Journal of Biological Chemistry