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The University of Southampton

BIOL2011 Molecular Cellular Biochemistry

Module Overview

This module develops the basic concepts of protein structure and function within the overall context of cell function. A major theme in the course is that of cell signalling and the role of membrane proteins in signalling events.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe some of the signals in proteins and mRNAs that determine their localisation to different parts of a cell.
  • Explain the mechanisms that target proteins to particular organelles or ensure they are secreted from the cell.
  • Explain the structure and function of different classes of transmembrane proteins, in particular the opsins and the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.
  • Describe, using named examples, how a ligand binding to its receptor activates intracellular signalling cascades, e.g. the adenyl cyclase cascade, the phosphoinositide cascade and the tyrosine kinase cascade.
  • Describe how calcium signalling can be divided into elemental and global events and give examples of the processes which are influenced by these events.
  • Describe the various types of post-translational covalent modifications of intra-cellular proteins and how these modifications regulate protein function and stability, with particular regard to glycosylation, acylation, prenylation and ubiquitination.
  • Define an oncogene and explain, with examples, what makes their protein products oncogenic.
  • Relate lecture content to the practical experience gained by manipulating and assaying protein function in the laboratory.


The lectures in the unit will cover protein targeting and export; membranes, proteins and signal transduction; protein modification and membrane interactions in protein regulation within the eukaryotic cell.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, practicals and tutorials together with independent study.

Independent Study117
Practical classes and workshops9
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

J.M. Berg, J.L. Tymoczko & L. Stryer (2012). Biochemistry. 

Karp (2010). Cell Biology. 

B. Alberts et al (2008). Molecular Biology of the Cell. 

H. Lodish et al (2008). Molecular Cell Biology. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 75%
Practical write-ups 15%
Tutorial 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 25%
Examination  (2 hours) 75%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: (BIOL1007 or BIOL1010) and (BIOL1008 or BIOL1022) and BIOL2010.

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