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Proteins are fundamental cellular components that regulate practically all processes in the cell. The control of their activity and abundance is essential for the survival of an organism. This module focuses on essential cellular mechanisms that participate to the control of protein activity and abundance (see topics below). For each topic, experimental evidence is provided to illustrate the mechanisms and concepts discussed in the lectures. These examples typically connect the different types of protein regulation to (i) essential biological processes (e.g. cell cycle, regulation of gene expression by transcription factors and epigenetic mechanisms,…) and (ii) diseases (e.g. cancer, neurodegenerative diseases). This module provides an integrative framework that allows the students to grasp how regulation of protein activity and abundance affects cellular and organismal functions.
Two tutorials are scheduled and focus on the analysis of original research articles, as well as the critical presentation of experimental data.
Topics covered include:
- In-depth discussion of protein degradation by the ubiquitin/proteasome system.
- Non-proteolytic roles of the ubiquitin system; the ‘ubiquitin code’.
- Regulation of protein activity and biological processes by ubiquitin-like proteins.
- Phosphorylation, cell cycle regulation and signal transduction pathways.
- Other covalent protein modifications, with a link to the epigenetic regulation of gene expression.
- Crosstalk between the different types of covalent modifications; complexity of biological systems and fine-tuning of cellular processes.
- protein/protein interactions and changes in protein activity; prions and associated diseases.
- protein/ligand interactions.