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Aberrations in the structure and expression of hormones, growth factors, neurotransmitters and their receptors can give rise to diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. To understand the molecular basis of these diseases, it is essential to know how hormones, growth factors and neurotransmitters are synthesised, and how their signals are recognised, amplified and transmitted by intracellular signalling pathways in the target cells.
Topics covered include structures of hormone and neurotransmitter receptors, mechanisms of intracellular signal transduction, second messengers, post-translational modifications such as protein phosphorylation-dephosphorylation, ubiquitination and S-nitrosylation; mechanism of apoptosis, necrosis and autophagy, molecular basis of neurodegenerative disease, innate immune signalling, molecular basis of cancer formation and progression, and the use and design of protein kinase inhibitors as therapeutics for treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of the subject, the student should be able to:
- Describe the molecular basis of signal generation by cell surface receptors and intracellular receptors of hormones and neurotransmitters
- Describe the structural basis underpinning how cell signalling mediators recognise their substrates and catalyse post-translational modifications of their target proteins
- Devise experiments to investigate how dys-regulation of key cell signalling proteins contributes to diseases
- Perform computational analysis of the sequence and structure of signalling proteins
- Critically analyse of the current scientific literature on cell signalling and neuroscience research
On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:
- the ability to interpret scientific literature and interpret data from electronic databases.
- the capacity to integrate knowledge across disciplines.
- the ability to comprehend a question, evaluate the relevant information and communicate an answer.
Last updated: 23 January 2021