BIOL 414
Life at Extremes: Molecular Mechanisms Fall 2023
Division III
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

All organisms face variability in their environments, and the molecular and cellular responses to stresses induced by environmental change often illuminate otherwise hidden facets of normal physiology. Moreover, many organisms have evolved unique molecular mechanisms, such as novel cellular compounds or macromolecular structural modifications, which contribute to their ability to survive continuous exposure to extreme conditions, such as high temperatures or low pH. This course will examine how chaperonins, proteases, and heat- and cold-shock proteins are regulated in response to changes in the external environment. We will then consider how these and other molecular mechanisms function to stabilize DNA and proteins- and, ultimately, cells and organisms. Other extreme environments, such as hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, snow fields, hypersaline lakes, the intertidal zone, and acid springs provide further examples of cellular and molecular responses to extreme conditions. Biotechnological applications of these molecular mechanisms in areas such as protein engineering will also be considered. Class discussions will focus upon readings from the primary literature.
The Class: Format: seminar; discussion three hours per week
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 1052
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: several short papers, participation in class discussions and course notebook
Prerequisites: open to juniors and seniors who are Biology majors; all other students interested in this course should contact the professor; BIOL 202 recommended
Enrollment Preferences: senior Biology majors who have not taken a 400-level course; then junior Biology majors
Distributions: Division III
Attributes: BIMO Interdepartmental Electives
MAST Interdepartmental Electives

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