Winter Term 2020-21 / Cell Mol Neurosci



Course title

Cellular and Molecular Biology of Neurons and Glia

Volkmer, Wizenmann
Course content / topics

The contribution of molecules involved in the function of the nervous system is discussed in the context of different functional units of the nervous system. Specific aspects of neuronal transcription, translation and protein modification will be pre-sented in the first part. Subsequently, the function of synaptic proteins will be presented in more detail. The lecture will focus on synapses as intercellular contact sites, synaptic vesicle cycling in the presynapse, molecules involved in the morphology and function of postsynapses including the clustering of neurotransmitter receptors of the central nervous system. Furthermore, an introduction into molecules involved in the stabilization of the myelin sheath will be given. Finally, some examples for molecular functions of astrocytes and microglial cells will be given.

Major cell biological processes and structures, e.g. cell organelles (e.g. distribution and function), vesicle transport and protein sorting (endoplasmatic reticulum, Golgi network, endocytosis, exocytosis, retrograde axonal transport, lysosomes) and cell cycle regulation (e.g. Cyclins, CDKs, cell proliferation vs. differentiation) will be discussed and will enable the students to extract the key particularities of neuronal cells in contrast to other cells of the body. Another focus will be given to cell motility: here students should be able to understand the underlying cell biological basis of cell motility provided by cytoskeletal dynamics of microtubules, actin and intermediary filaments. Students should also be able to explain how the cytosceletal network is used in cell migration to exert cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions (e.g. focal adhesions, tight junctions, integrin signaling). Furthermore students will learn about principle signal transduction mechanisms in the brain aiming at a fundamental understanding how e.g. receptor tyrosine kinases, G-protein coupled receptors and other important signaling cascades (MAPK, Rho GTPases) operate. As apoptosis is a key event in nervous system development and pathology students should be able to understand the primary cell biological events and molecular players during apoptosis (mitochondria, caspases, cytochrom c).

Course Schedule & Topics

Day, time & location

Thu, 8.15-10 am, GTC Lecture Hall