84285 - Cell Signaling

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

Differentiate structure, receptors, and mechanism of actions of hormones. Describe pathways of cellular signaling, and their mechanisms of activation, cross-talk and regulation. Discuss how disruptions in cellular signaling may lead to disease, and illustrate with selected examples.

Course contents

Lecture A. 1. General features of cell signal transduction: physical and chemical signals

Lecture A. 2. Cell surface receptors and nuclear receptors

Lecture A. 3. Classification of hormones

Lecture A. 4. Biosynthesis and secretion of insulin

Lecture A. 5. Signaling mechanisms regulated by receptor tyrosine kinases – part 1 (insulin/EGF & the MAPK cascade)

Lecture A. 6. Small G proteins: who, what, where. (Ras signaling and cancer)

Keynote Lecture by Michael M. Cox - DNA metabolism and cancer (title t.b.c.)

Lecture A. 7. Signaling mechanisms regulated by receptor tyrosine kinases – part 2 (insulin & the PI3K branch)

Lecture A. 8. Receptors recruiting protein tyrosine kinases to the plasma membrane (growth hormone signaling; JAK-STAT direct pathway to the nucleus)

Lecture A. 9. Heterotrimeric G protein-coupled receptors – part 1 (adenylyl cyclase, cAMP dependent protein kinase)

Lecture A.10. Heterotrimeric G protein-coupled receptors – part 2 (phospholipids & calcium as second messengers)

Lecture A.11. cAMP response element-binding protein – CREB: its involvement in circadian rhythm and in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease (CREB downregulation)

Lecture A.12. Cytochrome P-450 and biosynthesis of steroid hormones – part 1

Lecture A.13. Cytochrome P-450 and biosynthesis of steroid hormones – part 2

Lecture A.14. Nuclear receptors: the ligand-activated transcription factor paradigm (hints about cell signaling by steroid hormones, vitamin D and thyroid hormones; dietary lipids and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors - PPARs)

Lecture A.15. Death signaling: cell stress and mitochondria.


David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, Seventh Edition ©2017

ISBN-10: 1-4641-2611-9; ISBN-13: 978-1-4641-2611-6

or the equivalent International 7th Edition by W. H. Freeman - Macmillan learning ISBN: 978-1-319-10824-3.


Teaching methods

work in progress

Assessment methods

Attendance to this learning activity is mandatory; the minimum attendance requirement to be admitted to the final exam is 66% of lessons. Since this learning activity is part of an Integrated Course (I.C. #84284-Signaling pathways in health and disease), the 66% attendance requirement refers to the total amount of I.C. lessons (14 CFUs=112 total hours). Students who fail to meet the minimum attendance requirement (i.e. 74 hours) will not be admitted to the final exam of this I.C., and will have to attend relevant classes again during the next academic year.

Professors may authorise excused absences upon receipt of proper justifying documentation, in case of illness or serious reasons. Excused absences do not count against a student’s attendance record to determine their minimum attendance requirement.

Teaching tools

work in progress

Office hours

See the website of Maria Luisa Genova