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Introduction to Cell Biology

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune and NPTEL via Swayam


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About the Course:This course aims to introduce students to biomolecules and important fundamental concepts in cellular biochemistry, genetics and cellular organisation. It is aimed to give you an insight into how biomolecules work and help drive cellular architecture and function in a eukaryotic cell. In the first part, we focus on the information that makes the cell tick; from its storage in DNA to its conversion to executive molecules such as RNA and protein that perform essential routine processes in the cell. The central dogma is used as a guide to explore the structure of DNA, RNA and Protein and also explore the mechanisms of DNA replication, transcription and translation. Also touched upon are other important molecules such as water, carbohydrates and lipids. In the second part, we introduce basic mechanisms of heredity, as discovered by Gregor Mendel, in a modern context. In the third part, we will be discussing cell theory and the evolution of complexity in cells and the role compartmentalisation plays in mediating the same. The organisation of cells starting from the cell membrane as we move into the cell will be discussed. We will be looking at the role cytoskeleton have in cellular organisation and function. We will also be discussing organisation, role and regulation of cell organelles, everything from the endomembrane system to lysosomes to the nucleus. Eventually, we will be briefly discussing how all these cellular components come together to drive the process of cell division. INTENDED AUDIENCE:First year undergraduate Biology studentsPREREQUISITES: Any student who is starting a BSc course in Biology would find this useful. INDUSTRY SUPPORT: Biotech companies may find this course useful for technicians and students who train with them.


Week 1: Overview of the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology. Storage and information flow within the cell. The Central Dogma: DNA replication Week 2:The Central Dogma: Transcription & Translation Week 3:Macromolecules in the cell: Proteins, Carbohydrates and Lipids. The rules governing heredity: A short introduction to Genetics Week 4:Introduction to microscopy. Prokaryotes vs Eukaryotes, evolution of complexity and the endosymbiont theory Week 5:Cell Membrane. Why lipids? Membrane organisation and function. Cytoskeleton components, how are they similar and different? How does this help their distinct function. Week 6:Motor proteins, their evolution, specificity, directionality, and function in cells. Week 7:The endomembrane system & Nucleus. ER, Golgi, lysosomes and vacuoles. Their assembly, crosstalk and function in cells. Week 8:How does the endomembrane system connect to the nucleus. The organisation of the nucleus. The role of cell membrane, organelles and cytoskeleton in cell division. How does the cell manage to use these component to distribute its content evenly between daughter cells?

Taught by

Prof. Nagaraj Balasubramanian, Prof. Girish Ratnaparkhi



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