A. Regulation of gene expression
- An introduction: Early days of modern genetics, the "central dogma" in molecular biology; The dynamic structures of proteins and in particular enzymes; Protein specificity versus protein promiscuity;
- Regulation of gene expression: The regulation of gene expression at the DNA level including the relevancy of sequence-specific factors and various components of the transcriptional machineries, chromatin modifications, nucleosome positioning and chromatin remodeling;
B. The fundamentals of recombinant DNA ("Genetic Engineering")
- DNA cloning, modern biotechnology, the functional cloning of an oncogene
- Sequencing DNA and mining the information using basic bioinformatics tools: From the Sanger method to "next generations" sequencing methods; The role of these methods in advancing molecular biology; Basic concepts and examples for algorithms in molecular biology; Paralogs and orthologs.
- PCR: The invention of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), its principles and its most common applications; Ligation-independent cloning and additional advanced applications;
- Characterization of gene expression: Up-to date methodologies used for characterization of gene expression at the DNA, the chromatin, RNA and protein levels;
- Editing the genome using the CRISPR/Cas-derived tools.
C. Molecular Cell Biology
- The internal organization of the animal cell: Sub-cellular compartments, organelles and their functions. The membrane and membranal proteins; Differentiation, energy metabolism, major protein sorting pathways;
- The dynamic nature of intracellular processes: From extracellular signals to intracellular signaling cascades that often end at the transcriptional machineries; G-protein coupled receptors and receptor-tyrosine kinase ignited signaling; Signaling circuits, loops and regulatory networks of sequence specific transcription factors; The ubiquitin system and its roles in protein-protein interactions as well as degradation.
D. Reverse genetics, forward genetics, and epigenetics
- Reverse genetics - assigning functions to a gene of interest by genetic manipulations: The concept of an experimental hypothesis at the molecular level; From over-expression of a gene product to silencing of gene expression in cells in culture and at the organism level: the tale of a tumor suppressor as an example;
- miRs: The molecular biology of micro-RNAs (miRs); Gene-therapy-like approaches using miRs ;
- The tools for manipulation of gene expression: Generating relevant expression vectors as well as expression systems and conditional expression; Knock-down of expression using siRNA and shRNA; Dissecting signaling pathways using knock-down tools; Genome editing using the CRISPR-derived tools. Knock-out of expression in the animal;
- "Forward genetics": From a phenotype to relevant genes: The role of shRNA, siRNA and CRISPR-derived libraries;
- Frontiers in molecular biology: Functional biology, genome research, the variome, epigenomes; DNA methylations, maps of histone modifications. Genome-wide approaches used to study epigenomes; Mapping and characterizing global events at the genome level which contribute to regulation of transcription or DNA replication.
- An introduction to "systems biology" (If time will permit- by an invited speaker).
- Reading 2 cutting-edge paper in molecular biology, one of which will be the exam paper.