Cell Biology

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
BIOL 2321
Cell Biology
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture/Tutorial 4hrs/week Laboratory 3 hrs/week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

This course involves four hours of lecture and/or tutorial/week and three hours of laboratory work.  The information content is integrated with laboratory experiments, and textbook and scientific journal readings.

Course Description
A survey of cell ultrastructure and cellular function. Topics discussed include nuclear, organelle, membrane and cytoskeletal structures and associated functions including DNA replication, transcription, translation, cell signalling, photosynthesis and respiration.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
    • origin and evolution of cells
    • characteristics of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
    • development of multicellular organisms
    • cells as experimental models
    • tools of cell biology
  2. Chemical Components of Cells
    • water
    • carbohydrates
    • lipids
    • nucleic acids
    • proteins
  3. Fundamentals of Molecular Biology
    • heredity, genes and DNA
    • structure of DNA
    • organization of eukaryotic and prokaryotic genomes
  4. Flow of Genetic Information
    • DNA replication
    • DNA repair
    • transcription in prokaryotes
    • eukaryotic RNA polymerases and basal transcription factors
    • regulation of transcription in eukaryotes
    • RNA processing and turnover
    • translation of mRNA
    • protein folding and processing
    • regulation of protein function
    • protein degradation
  5. Interphase Nucleus
    • structure of nuclear envelope
    • traffic between nucleus and cytoplasm
    • internal organization of the nucleus
    • the nucleolus
  6. Membrane Structure and Function
    • phospholipid bilayer
    • membrane proteins
    • mobility of membrane proteins
    • glycocalyx
    • passive diffusion
    • facilitated diffusion and carrier proteins
    • ion channels
    • active transport driven by ATP hydrolysis
    • active transport driven by ion gradients
    • endocytosis
    • tight junctions
    • gap junctions
  7. Protein Sorting and Transport
    • endoplasmic reticulum and protein secretion
    • targeting proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum
    • insertion of proteins into ER membrane
    • protein folding and processing in the ER
    • organization of the Golgi apparatus
    • protein glycosylation within Golgi
    • mechanisms of vascular transport
  8. Intracellular Comparments
    • organization and function of mitochondria
    • mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation
    • structure and function of chloroplasts
    • photosynthesis
    • structure and function of peroxisomes
  9. Cytoskeleton
    • structure and organization of actin filaments
    • actin, myosin and cell movement
    • intermediate filaments
    • microtubules
    • microtubule motors and movements
  10. Cell Signalling
    • modes of cell-cell signalling
    • G protein-coupled receptors
    • receptor protein-tyrosine kinases
    • cytokine receptors and nonreceptor protein
    • pathways of intracellular signal transduction
  11. The Cell Cycle
    • phases of the cell cycle
    • regulation of the cell cycle by cell growth and extracellular signals
    • cell cycle checkpoints
    • regulators of cell cycle progression
    • stages of mitosis
    • cell differentiation
    • programmed cell death
    • development and causes of cancer
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will

  1. Understand the origin of cells and the evolution of metabolism.
  2. Be able to explain the composition and function of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids in the cell.
  3. Be able to explain how DNA provides a mechanism for heredity and to understand the flow of genetic information from DNA  to RNA to protein.
  4. Be able to describe the structure of the nuclear envelope and explain the mechanisms which allow for traffic of molecules between nucleus and cytoplasm.
  5. Understand the structure and function of the plasma membrane and to be able to explain its role in active and passive transport and cell signalling and apply these concepts to explain cancer.
  6. Be able to explain the processes by which proteins destined for peroxisomes, mitochondria and chloroplasts are synthesized  and imported into these organelles and explain how this differs from translocation of protein into endoplasmic reticulum,  Golgi apparatus, lysosomes and plasma membrane.
  7. Understand the structure and organization of the different components of the cytoskeleton and relate them to cell movement.
  8. Be able to describe the phases of the cell cycle and explain the experimental data that has identified the regulators of cell cycle progression.
  9. Be able to use general principles of cell biology to discuss current issues.
  10. Be familiar with and able to perform experiments using the common tools of cell and molecular biology, including light  microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, sub-cellular fractioning, culture of animal and plant cells, immunoassays, electrophoresis, restriction enzyme mapping.
Means of Assessment
Class tests 5-15%
Laboratory 15%
Term paper  5-15%
Term exams 15-30%
Final exam 35%
Total 100%


Laboratory: Students will be evaluated on their performance in the laboratory, short lab evaluations and lab reports.

Examinations: Term exams will evaluate knowledge on subjects covered during the immediate past period.  The final comprehensive examination will cover the entire course.

Textbook Materials

Cooper, G. M. The Cell, A Molecular Approach.  2nd Ed (or current edition).  ASM Press, Sinauer Associates Inc. Massachusetts. 2000.


BIOL 1110 and BIOL 1210 with C- or better or BIOL 1310 with C- or better and CHEM 1110 or permission of instructor

CHEM 1210 recommended

Which Prerequisite