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Western University
Biology 2382B
Robert Cumming

Cell Biology Lecture 1 Notes What is cell biology?  Cell biology is an academic discipline that studies cells, the basic functional units of all known organisms  A cell is a unique complex structure – a limited # of molecules are arranged together to perform life exercises  Each cell arises from pre-existing cells  Cell biologists look at all aspects of the cell – cell structure, cell organelles and membrane trafficking, cell cycle, division and death, cell signaling, and cell communications What is a cell?  Ultimate goal  to understand how macromolecular systems and organelles work and cooperate to enable cells to function autonomously and in tissues  Prokaryotic cells (bacteria) have no nucleus  Eukaryotic cells (protists, fungi, plants and animals) are surrounded by a single membrane (plasma membrane) which separate the interior of the cell from the extracellular space o The cellular DNA of eukaryotic cells is segregated within a defined nucleus, which is bounded by a double membrane (nuclear envelope) o The outer membrane is continuous with the rough ER – factory for protein synthesis o Golgi apparatus serves to process and modify proteins, mitochondria generate energy, lysosomes digest cell materials to recycle them, peroxisomes contribute to catabolism of fatty acids reactions generating hydrogen peroxide, and secretory vesicles carry cell material to the surface to release them Nobel Laureates of this Millennium for discoveries related to Cell Biology:  2000  signal transduction in nervous system  2001  key regulators of the cell cycle  2002  genetic regulation or organ development and programmed cell death  2003  channels in cell membranes and structural and mechanistic studies of ion channels  2004  odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system  2004  ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation  2006  RNA interference – gene silencing by double-stranded RNA  2006  molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription  2007  principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells  2008  discovery and development of GFP  2009  how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase  2009  studies of structure and function of the ribosome  2010  development of in vitro fertilization *Not testable Why study cells?  Part of the core in biology  Fundamental unit of life  Many unanswered questions  Storehouse for thousands of genes  Determine what is “normal” so we can fix the “abnormal”  Lead to Nobel Prize How do we study cells – hypothesis driven experiments?  First, you’ll need the tools & methods to isolate and maintain cells in vitro, to know how to view cells and what to look for, how to separate cell organelles, and how to identify and study how proteins drive a cell biological process  Once you have the tools, we can start to ask and answer biological questions pertaining to ~75 trillion cells Cell culture:  Cell culture is the technique used to grow cells or tissues outside the organism under strictly controlled conditions  Cells are isolated from any tissue by breaking down the cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions o Use mechanical fragmentation and gentle treatment with proteolytic enzymes (trypsin), & divalent ion (Ca2+, Mg2+) chelators such as EDTA o Most cells derived from solid tissues grow as adherent cell monolayers, however, many cancer cells & blood cells can also grow in suspension  To maintain cell culture, cells are supplied with proper nutrients (amino acids, minerals, vitamins, bases, glucose, etc.) serum, and grown usually at 37 degC in a CO2 incubator  mimics physiological conditions  Cells can grow as adherent cell cultures or suspension cell cultures  First step in cell culture is to obtain cells  Primary cell culture – cells taken directly from an organism o These cells usually divide a limited number of times (~50 generations, Hayflick limit) o Many cells used in cell culture studies have undergone genetic modifications (transformation) that allow them to grow indefinitely  Cell line – cells with indefinite life span, continuous, or immortal cells (that are often transformed cells) o Human cell lines are typically derived from human tumors or from cells transformed with cancer-causing viruses or chemicals o The first human cell line (HeLa) was established in 1952 by George Gey (John Hopkins University) from cervical carcinoma biopsy of Henrietta Lacks o HeLa cells originated from transformed epithelial cells (express high level of keratin), have been reported to contain low level of p53, and express human papilloma virus (HPV -18) sequences  Pro
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