The lethal poison Ricin (best known as a weapon of bioterrorism), Diphtheria toxin (the causative agent of a highly contagious bacterial disease), and the widely used antibiotic tetracycline have one thing in common: They specifically target the cell's translational apparatus and disrupt protein synthesis. In this course, we will explore the mechanisms of action of toxins and antibiotics, their roles in everyday medicine, and the emergence and spread of drug resistance. We will also discuss the identification of new drug targets and how we can manipulate the protein synthesis machinery to provide powerful tools for protein engineering and potential new treatments for patients with devastating diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.
Biology 2e is designed to cover the scope and sequence requirements of a typical two-semester biology course for science majors. The text provides comprehensive coverage of foundational research and core biology concepts through an evolutionary lens. Biology includes rich features that engage students in scientific inquiry, highlight careers in the biological sciences, and offer everyday applications. The book also includes various types of practice and homework questions that help students understand—and apply—key concepts. The 2nd edition has been revised to incorporate clearer, more current, and more dynamic explanations, while maintaining the same organization as the first edition. Art and illustrations have been substantially improved, and the textbook features additional assessments and related resources.
By the end of this section, you will be able to do the following:
Explain the “central dogma” of DNA-protein synthesis
Describe the genetic code and how the nucleotide sequence prescribes the amino acid and the protein sequence
Since the discovery of the structure of the DNA double helix in 1953 by Watson and Crick, the information on detailed molecular structures of DNA and RNA, namely, the foundation of genetic material, has expanded rapidly. This discovery is the beginning of the "Big Bang" of molecular biology and biotechnology. In this seminar, students discuss, from a historical perspective and current developments, the importance of pursuing the detailed structural basis of genetic materials.