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ONC0251C Cell Signaling, metabolism and introduction to immunology


Cell Signaling, metabolism and introduction to immunology


Academic year 2023/2024

Course ID
Letizia Lanzetti (Lecturer)
Enrico Bracco (Lecturer)
1st year
Teaching period
First semester
Related or integrative
Course disciplinary sector (SSD)
BIO/10 - biochemistry
Formal authority
Type of examination
Written and oral
Type of learning unit
Modular course
Biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology (ONC0251)

Sommario del corso


Course objectives

This module forms an essential component of the Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology course, which encompasses various topics including (i) Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology, (ii) Cell Signaling, Metabolism, and Immunology, (iii) Modeling and Quantitative Approaches to Life Science, and (iv) Clinical Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology. The primary objective of this course is to equip students with digital skills that can be applied in the healthcare and biomedicine sectors, thereby fulfilling the main objective of the Master's degree. More specifically, the focus of this module is to provide students with a digital perspective on the fundamental building blocks of living organisms.


Results of learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will possess the knowledge concerning chemical and biological disciplines. They will be familiar with the fundamental biological processes essential to life including the signal transducion cascade, the mechanisms of nutrient uptake and utilization by the major metabolic pathways.They will learn how such pathways are ntegrated and regulated within the cell. Examples will be provided and discussed with the class.Furthermore, they will contextualize the knowledge they've gained within a digital perspective. Finally, students will be able to confidently present their knowledge both verbally and in concise written statements.



Module 3_Cell Signaling, Metabolism, and Introduction to Immunology

  • The mechanisms of cell communication
  • The transmembrane receptors: G-protein coupled receptors, nutrient transporters, receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs)
  • A prototype of RTKs: the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR)
  • The signaling cascade: molecules and modules
  • Membrane trafficking: endocytic pathways (clathrin- and non-clathrin mediated), recycling pathways (fast and slow recycling pathways), multivesicular bodies and lysosomal trafficking, the anterograde pathways (from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi, from the Golgi to the plasma membrane)
  • Basics of sugar and lipid metabolism
  • Cell energy metabolism: mitochondria, Kreb cycle, oxidative phosphorylation
  • Basics of metabolomics
  • Crosstalk between signaling, trafficking, and cell metabolism: membrane trafficking of glucose transporters and the role of insulin; the lysosome, a platform for nutrient sensing; the mTOR signaling pathway, mTOR and AMPK in the control of anabolism and catabolism

Course delivery

All the lessons wll be done in presence. Explanations on the various topic will be provided to the class using slides as didactic material. The slides will be provided to the class in advance, sot that students will be faclitated in following the lessons and in posing questions. At the end of each lesson, some time will be dedicated to recap te major arguments that have been discussed. Similarly, a rapid recap will be also done at te beginning of the following lessons to set the stage for the lesson helping the students to get into the topic. At the end of the course a simulation of the exam is performed in the class to support students understading what and how is to study in preparation of the final examination.


Learning assessment methods

The exam is structured into two separate sections A and B. Particular attention will be devoted to integrate the different learning abilities, including knowledge and understanding, ability to apply knowledge and understanding and communication skills. 

  1. Each module will end with a multiple choice question quiz in order for the student to evaluate her/his level of knowledge and understanding of the specific topics covered in the module. A weighted average (according to the fraction of CFU of each module) of the marks obtained in the final quiz of each module will account for a maximum total of 16 points. Should one or more modules be insufficient, the student will have to retake the module quiz or quizzes at the exam session.
  2. At the exam sessions students will have to present a written report (min 2 pages, max 3 pages) done by small groups (min 3 max 5 students) on a subject that can be selected among different topics proposed by the teachers of the course, in order to evaluate their ability to apply knowledge and understanding to a partially new context. Each group will be given a 20 min slot to present their work with a keynote presentation, where each member of the group will have to present a part of the work. The presentation will be followed by questions and discussion with the teachers and will account for maximum other 16 points.

Suggested readings and bibliography

Last update: 25/07/2023 09:00
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