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BIOL6032 Molecular Recognition

Module Overview

Most biological processes involve interactions between macromolecules. It is the aim of this module to illustrate the nature of these interactions with selected examples. The first section introduces the structure of DNA and the recognition of nucleic acids by interacting proteins such as histones, nucleases, and transcription factors. Also discussed are the structure of RNA and riboswitches. From the nucleus of the cell, we turn our attention to the surface of the cell, and discuss ways in which signal transduction events lead to altered gene expression. Examples such as cytokines and growth hormones and their receptors are discussed, affecting cell cycle regulation. Protein-peptide recognition will be introduced, and will see how viruses upset cell regulation through interfering peptides. The receptors themselves are often multi-domain proteins, as we will see in the next section. Assembly of multiple domains is a requirement for regulation and efficient binding site presentation. Methods to study macromolecular interactions are introduced in all sections. The seminal technique of mass spectrometry is covered in the final section to explain protein-ligand interactions. Hydrogen–deuterium exchange (HDX) mass spectrometry allows to studying protein-protein interactions.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to illustrate the nature of interactions between macromolecules important in biological systems.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • describe the structure of DNA and the nature of interactions with proteins;
  • describe the structure of RNA and the nature of riboswitches;
  • describe GTPases as molecular protein switches
  • describe how peptide motifs are recognised by interacting proteins
  • describe ligand recognition in the immune system
  • describe protein ligand interactions
  • describe hydrogen–deuterium exchange in mass spectrometry to study molecular interaction
  • read and interpret original literature in molecular recognition
  • present a scientific poster to a lay scientific audience and fellow students

Syllabus

Most biological processes involve interactions between macromolecules. It is the aim of this module to illustrate the nature of these interactions with selected examples. The first section introduces the structure of DNA and the recognition of nucleic acids by interacting proteins such as histones, nucleases, and transcription factors. Also discussed are the structure of RNA and riboswitches. From the nucleus of the cell, we turn our attention to the surface of the cell, and discuss ways in which signal transduction events lead to altered gene expression. Examples such as cytokines and growth hormones and their receptors are discussed, affecting cell cycle regulation. Protein-peptide recognition will be introduced, and will see how viruses upset cell regulation through interfering peptides. The receptors themselves are often multi-domain proteins, as we will see in the next section. Assembly of multiple domains is a requirement for regulation and efficient binding site presentation. Methods to study macromolecular interactions are introduced in all sections. The seminal technique of mass spectrometry is covered in the final section to explain protein-ligand interactions. Hydrogen–deuterium exchange (HDX) mass spectrometry allows to studying protein-protein interactions.

Special Features

N/A.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and independent study with some informal tutorial. An exercise to interpret and present a recent research paper related to the topics presented in the module in form of a poster session.

TypeHours
Independent Study126
Lecture24
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Oral presentation 35%
Written exam  (2 hours) 65%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 35%
Written exam  (2 hours) 65%

Linked modules

pre-requisites: BIOL2010 AND BIOL2011 OR BIOL2012 AND BIOL2011

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