BI204 - Investigations in Molecular Cell Biology
The Pathways over Time project employs the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a test organism to analyze the evolutionary conservation of the genes involved in methionine synthesis. S. cerevisiae is a small, unicellular eukaryote that thrives as many different wild and domesticated strains. S. cerevisiae is easily cultured in the laboratory using standard microbiological techniques that students can rapidly master. S. cerevisiae has also been extensively used as a model organism by generations of geneticists, providing a rich knowledgebase for student projects. The S. cerevisiae genome was the first eukaryotic genome to be decoded, and BI204 is able to take advantage of the extensive clone resources developed in conjunction with the yeast genome project.
Yeast able to synthesize methionine from a variety of inorganic and organic sulfur sources, using pathways that involve 10-20 gene products. In the Pathways over TIme project, students use plasmid complementation to study the functional conservation of the various genes involved in methionine synthesis and metabolism. During the course of the project, students learn to use online databases and the primary scientific literature to analyze their experimental results and to construct and test their own hypotheses. In the current year, students are studying the ability of genes from the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, to substitute for the autologous S. cerevisiae genes.
Supplementary class materials from several previous classes can be accessed below: