The University of Southampton
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BIOL3003 Plant Cell Biology

Module Overview

This module explores, in depth, selected topics in plant cell biology that are basic to our understanding of the way in which plant cells develop, function and interact with each other and with their surroundings. Areas covered include: vacuole and chloroplast function and assembly; membrane transport; signalling; stress responses covering salt stress, mechanisms of ozone damage and repair, heavy metal stress and homeostasis, and consequences of elevated ozone levels. The module will include discussion sessions and poster presentations.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module explores current topics in plant cell biology. It provides an understanding of the unique features of plant cells and of the cellular mechanisms that allow plants to interact with their environment. Responses at the cellular level to important environmental problems encountered worldwide arediscussed and the mechanisms plants use to adapt and survive are covered. The application of modern techniques in cell biology is included and so this module is also of value to those with a broad interest in cell biology. The topics include ones in which members of the module team are actively engaged in research and therefore the most up-to-date information is provided. The module will also provide you with opportunities to practice and develop a range of general skills, which can be transferred to other fields of endeavour, including: practice in finding and critically assessing published information on a given topic; practice in the verbal and written presentation of scientific information.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • have knowledge of the properties, components and functions of the plasma membrane and endomembrane systems of plant cells
  • have a basic knowledge of how plants respond to salt stress
  • understand the cellular processes that may be sensitive to changes in the gaseous environment, particularly ozone
  • be able to find and critically assess published information on a given topic
  • have had practice in verbal and written presentation of scientific information.
  • be familiar with the main techniques used to isolate and purify cell components and to investigate the properties of certain plant cell organelles, plant cell membranes and their components
  • be familiar with the properties, functions and location in cells of a range of membrane transport systems including, where appropriate, the mechanisms which generate the driving forces for solute transport
  • understand the properties and function of the plant cell vacuole
  • be conversant with semi-autonomy of chloroplasts and understand chloroplast assembly, including coordination between chloroplast and cytoplasmic protein synthesis
  • understand the mechanisms involved in the targeting and transport of proteins across organelle membranes
  • understand the basic principles of signal transduction processes in plants including the nature and roles of signal receptors
  • be familiar with the mechanisms involved in signal perception, and in signal generation and transmission
  • have a basic knowledge of how plants respond to heavy metal stress, including mechanisms of heavy metal homeostasis

Syllabus

This module explores, in depth, selected topics in plant cell biology that are basic to our understanding of the way in which plant cells develop, function and interact with each other and with their surroundings. Areas covered include: vacuole and chloroplast function and assembly; membrane transport; signalling; stress responses covering salt stress, mechanisms of ozone damage and repair, heavy metal stress and homeostasis, and consequences of elevated ozone levels. The module will include discussion sessions and poster presentations.

Special Features

Material presented in lectures is reinforced and extended in two coursework exercises: In each, the students are asked to read a primary research paper and answer ten questions.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and independent study. The module will include discussion sessions for poster presentations.

TypeHours
Lecture22
Practical classes and workshops8
Independent Study116
Supervised time in studio/workshop4
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 25%
Written exam  (2 hours) 75%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 25%
Written exam  (2 hours) 75%

Linked modules

Pre-requisites

To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

CodeModule
BIOL2007Plant Development and Function
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