Molecular Cell Biology – MBIM 6103

The goals of this course are to develop a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying basic processes in cell biology.  This will be achieved by discussing in depth experimental studies that lead to proposed mechanistic models.  In addition, these studies will introduce you to potential experimental approaches to attack scientific questions.  We encourage you to critically evaluate the experiments and to incorporate this information with that from your previous or ongoing courses and research activities.

Prerequisites:  Prior course in cell biology or permission of instructor.  Biochemistry / Gene Expression is recommended.  The course will be taught with the assumption that you have had courses in these areas.

Course Director:  Vladimir Lupashin, 501-603-1170

Course Instructors:

Karen Abbott (Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Rm. 11-111, klabbott@uams.eduu)
Giulia Baldini (Biomedical Research Center B421F,
Paul Gottschall (Biomed 2-B341C-2,
Thomas Kelly (Biomed 2,
Vladimir Lupashin (Biomed 2 261-2,
Angus MacNicol (Cancer Institute 310,
Brian Storrie (Biomed 2 262-2,

Course structure:  The course will be 4 credit hours;

The course will be 4 credit hours; Class meetings: Tuesday from 10:30am-1:30pm and Friday from 9:30am—12:30pm in Biomed Two, Physiology Conference Room 242-2.
The course will be a combination of lectures, weekly written work or problem sets and class discussions.

Texts:  There is no required text.  Molecular Cell Biology by Lodish et al is one of several textbooks that can be used for background information.  Virtually all of the assigned readings will be on specific papers germane to the topic being discussed.

Written assignments:  For some of the sections, there will be problem sets.  For other sections there will be written assignments.


1.  In-Class Paper Discussions (30%)
2.  Problem sets / written class assignments (30%)
3.  Exams (20% – 1st, 20% – 2nd)

To logon to Blackboard:

General outline and topic organization:  MCB 2015 Schedule

Class PeriodFacultyClass PeriodGeneral Topics
Tue, Aug 18Storrie1Course Organization / Introduction:
Fri, Aug 21Storrie2Using Microscopy in Cell Biology
Tue, Aug 25Storrie3Nuclear transport - structure of nuclear envelope / pores
Fri, Aug 28Storrie4Getting things in and out: protein and RNA import/export;
Tue, Sept 1Storrie5Organelle Assembly and Function - the Golgi Apparatus as the prototype example
Fri, Sept 4No CLASS
Tue, Sept 8Storrie6Organelle Assembly and Function - the Golgi Apparatus as the prototype example
Fri, Sept 11Baldini7ER and ER stress
Tue, Sept 15Baldini8G proteins and Signal Transduction
Fri, Sept 18Baldini9integration of distinct signaling pathways
Tue, Sept 22Lupashin10ER protein transport ? translocation and retro-translocation
Fri, Sept 25Lupashin11Protein sorting and vesicle formation
Tue, Sept 29Lupashin12Vesicular trafficking
Fri, Oct 2Lupashin13SNARE-dependent membrane fusion
Tue, Oct 6Lupashin14Toxin trafficking
Fri, Oct 9Lupashin15Autophagy
Tue, Oct 13Exam ITake home exam - (Pick up on Tuesday, Return on Friday, 9AM)
Fri, Oct 16No CLASS
Tue, Oct 20Baldini, Lupashin, Storrie17Exam discussion
Fri, Oct 23Abbott18Functional roles for glycoconjugates: lessons learned from human diseases and congenital disorders of glycosylation
Tue, Oct 2719Functional roles for glycoconjugates
Fri, Oct 3020Functional roles for glycoconjugates
Tue, Nov 3Kelly21Cell Adhesion
Fri, Nov 622Cytoskeleton
Tue, Nov 1023Cytoskeleton
Fri, Nov 13Gottschall24Functional synaptic plasticity
Tue, Nov 1725Signaling and the cytoskeleton in structural synaptic plasticity
Fri, Nov 2026Extracellular microenvironment, synaptic plasticity and memory
Tue, Nov 24Thanksgiving week no class
Fri, Nov 27Thanksgiving week no class
Tue, Dec 1Macnicol27Control Cell Cycle and Cell Division
Fri, Dec 428Stem Cell Biology
Tue, Dec 829TBD
Fri, Dec 11Exam II30Take home exam (Pick up on Friday, Return on Monday 9 AM)
Tue, Dec 14No CLASS
Fri, Dec 17Abbott, Kelly, Gottschall, Macnicol31Exam discussion