Jan 26th 2016

Proteins: Biology's Workforce (edX)

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Explore the diversity of cellular proteins. More than a dietary component, proteins are essential to life and engage in processes from metabolism to DNA replication.

Proteins are the cellular manifestation of genetic information. They are assembled into a polymeric structure from monomers derived in part from components in our diet. The many proteins that cells manufacture perform a broad range of essential functions — the molecular workforce of living organisms. We will explore how proteins are constructed, how they fold into 3-dimensional shapes, the kinds of bonds that hold these folded structures together, and the immense range of roles that proteins assume — from structural proteins such as muscle to catalysts for cellular chemical reactions.

To understand how a protein works, purification and characterization are essential, and we will identify a variety of methods utilized to explore protein structure and function to uncover how these tiny machines drive almost all living processes.

The course utilizes video lectures, research articles, case studies, and molecular models. Questions with each video lecture, quizzes, homework, a writing assignment, and an exam will determine the final grade.

What you'll learn:

- Building blocks that comprise proteins

- Levels of protein structure

- Forces that hold proteins into their 3-dimensional functional form

- Functional properties of proteins

- Nature of proteins embedded in cell membranes

- Dynamic nature of proteins

- Proteins as catalysts for metabolism

- Regulatory mechanisms

- Role of energy in catalysis

- Purification and analysis techniques for proteins

- How proteins are purified and analyzed

- Applications of monoclonal antibodies

- Selected methods for characterizing proteins