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BGM2061 : Protein Trafficking and Biological Membranes

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s):
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1.To introduce the concept of compartmentalisation within eukaryotic cells.
2.To explore in detail protein targeting to and transport across membranes, trafficking between organelles and to explore recurrent themes in these processes.
3.To provide examples of post-translational modifications that occur within the secretory pathway and how these affect trafficking and localisation of proteins.
4.To reveal the dynamic nature of membrane lipid and protein biochemistry and how it relates to cellular processes.
5.To examine the synthesis and topogenesis of membrane proteins.
6.To provide an understanding of key aspects of membrane structure and the physical constraints of the membrane environment.

Outline Of Syllabus

Biological membranes are critical for maintaining cellular function, but at the same time they impede the movement of molecules and proteins within the cell. The module will consider:

·the concepts of compartmentalisation within eukaryotic cells

·biological membranes including different types of membrane, e.g. viral, bacterial, archeal, sub-cellular and cellular

·micelles, bilayered liposomes and detergents

·recognition of membrane proteins and proteins that are transported into cellular organelles or secreted from the cell, from their polypeptide sequences

·how membrane and secreted proteins are synthesized, sorted and transported to the correct destinations

·the function of specific membrane and membrane-associated protein complexes.

Within the module emphasis will be placed on some of the common and recurrent themes by which proteins are delivered to their correct cellular location, the roles of molecular chaperones in protein trafficking and folding, sorting and recycling of proteins, quality control mechanisms that operate within the secretory pathway and post-translational modification of proteins.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture191:0019:00PIP - lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:004:00Sync online lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Timed essay
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical26:0012:00PIP - Practicals
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00PIP - feedback sessions
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1162:00162:00Writing up lecture notes, revision and general reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will introduce and build upon previous exposure to the concepts in the learning outcomes.

Some of the concepts and ideas covered in the lectures will be re-enforced in practical sessions which will give the students ‘hands on’ experience of purifying proteins.

One of the feedback sessions will be used to review the material covered in the practical (lab recording and reporting skills). The second will be used to discuss the formative assessment.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70Invigilated exam, comprising MCQ questions, (30% max 40 questions) and essays (70%) - 2 from choice of 4
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M30Practical Writeup. 1500 words maximum.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MPIP Timed essay to prepare for the end of module exam
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exams test the knowledge across the module.

Practicals assess students understanding of key points in the lectures, ability to report and analyse results, and also their practical and team working skills (students will be working in groups of 2 or more for the practical).

The formative assessment will allow students’ to develop their skill in producing writing an essay under exam conditions.

Reading Lists