GMS 6421 – Advanced Cell Biology

Course Info

Credits: 4
Course Offered: Fall semester

Course Director

Satya Narayan, Ph.D.
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
University of Florida
1333 Center Drive
P.O. Box 100235
Gainesville, FL 32610-0235
Phone: (352) 273-8163
Room: Academic Research Bldg, R4-224


Undergraduate biochemistry or cell biology taught in conjunction with 1st year IDP core course.  Basic understanding of fundamental mechanisms of cell functions, specializations, and interactions that account for the organization and activities of basic tissues is desired.  This course is a requirement for the Molecular Cell Biology (MCB) graduate students.  Please email course director or Mr. Mark Zakshevsky (Email:, Tel: 352-273-9647) in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology for enrollments.


The Advanced Cell Biology Course will be offered each year in Spring-semester.  In this course we will discuss the molecular basis of cell structure/function at a more advanced level than in the introductory courses of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.  The focus will be on the current knowledge of the subject matter.  On Mondays and Wednesdays, there will be lectures covering the latest information in the literature.  On Fridays, it will be publication-based “hot-topic review or article” discussion.  The presentation/discussion will elaborate the merits and demerits of the methods used in the study.  Topics include membrane biology, secretory pathways, vesicular trafficking, mitochondrial dynamics, nuclear organization and function, turnover pathways, cytoskeleton, miroRNAs, epigenetics, signal transduction networks, cell polarity, stem cells, cellular mechanisms of diseases, and cancer cell biology.  Discussion will range from basic studies to applications to human diseases.  Students will also be introduced to how critically evaluate the scientific literature.

The text book “Molecular Biology of the Cell – by Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts and Peter Walter: Sixth Edition”, will serve as a general reference.  However, reading from the literature will be necessary to cover the latest information.

Topic Outline

  • Membrane biology
    • L1: Membrane microdomains
    • L2: ER – Translocation
    • L3. Paper discussion
  • Secretory pathway
    • L4: Anterograde versus Retrograde Transport
    • L5: Paper discussion
  • Trafficking of Membrane Receptors
    • L6: ER – Protein folding and quality control
    • L7: Vesicular transport and Golgi
    • L8: Paper discussion
  • Proteostasis
    • L9: Molecular Regulation of Protein Turnover
    • L10: Protein Turnover and Disease
    • L11: Paper discussion
  • Cytoskeleton
    • L12: Actin dynamics and regulation
    • L13: Microtubules and motors in mitosis
    • L14: EXAM 1
  • Mitochondria
    • L15: Mitochondrial gene defects
    • L16: Mitochondrial dynamics
    • L17: Paper discussion
  • Nucleus
    • L18: Nuclear dynamics and architecture
    • L19. Chromatin Organization
    • L20: Paper Discussion
  • Epigenetics
    • L21: Epigenetics
    • L22: Transcription regulation
    • L23: Paper Discussion
  • MicroRNAs
    • L24: MicroRNAs in innate monocyte response
    • L25: MicroRNAs in cancer cell biology
    • L26: Paper Discussion
  • Signal transduction networks
    • L27: DNA damage response dynamics
    • L28: Drug targets and signaling networks
    • L29: EXAM 2
  • Cell polarity
    • L30: Cell polarity in tissue morphogenesis
    • L31: Cell polarity and cancer
    • L32: Paper discussion
  • Cell cycle
    • L33: Cell cycle dynamics and checkpoints
    • L34: Apoptosis
    • L35: Paper discussion
  • Stem cells
    • L36: Stem cell pluripotency
    • L37: Cancer stem cells
    • L38: Paper discussion
  • Cellular mechanisms of diseases
    • L39: DNA methylation and transcription
    • L40: DNA methylation in cancer
    • L41: Paper discussion
  • Cancer cell biology
    • L42: Oncogenes / molecular biology of cancer
    • L43: Inherited cancer syndrome
    • L44: EXAM 3


There will be three (3) – two hour examinations.  All three examinations will be composed of short answers or multiple choice and other question types.  There will be 15 questions per exam.  Students are required to answer at least 2 questions from each week’s lectures/discussions.