Eukaryotic Gene Expression

Regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes is essential for development and physiological function in health and disease. The undoubted complexity of multicellular organisms arises from the differential expression of the genetic material, which is essentially the same in all cells. What makes humans different to other mammals is not major difference in gene content, but differences in the expression of homologous genes. The module will initially cover generic features of the transcription machinery, the role of regulatory proteins in controlling gene transcription and the importance of chromatin structure. This will lead into a more detailed analysis of the control of gene transcription and its role in development, health and disease.

It will then cover the mechanisms such as post-transcriptional pre-mRNA processing, mRNA degradation and translation. More in depth coverage will discuss the how post-transcriptional processes can be controlled to regulate gene expression. Students will also learn about the importance of non-coding RNAs including miRNAs. The biological importance of post-transcriptional control will be illustrated by discussions of topics including gene imprinting, x-chromosome inactivation, nonsense mediated decay.

The course is taught as a series of lectures. In addition, communication and examination skills will be developed in a series of workshops in which students will develop the ability to research, critically evaluate, assimilate and precis information, this will help students develop the skills to write high quality examination essays introducing information from outside the lecture. The element of continuous assessment for this module will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to research and critically evaluate the latest research and summarise information in a piece of written work. 

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes
  • Demonstrate academic excellence in terms of subject specific knowledge of the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes
  • Demonstrate independent critical thinking
  • Research recent developments in a specific topic in the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes and evaluate the evidence for our current understanding of the topic
  • Demonstrate an ability to explain a complex concept in a graphical format