Biology 154 / 254 / Neurobiology 254

Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology

Autumn 2010


Bio154/254/Neurobio254 is a combined upper-level undergraduate and graduate course.  The course focuses on cellular and molecular studies of the organization and function of the nervous system.  The lecture content is described in detail below.  Lecture hours are Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:15-3:05 pm, in Hewlett 201. 


Undergraduate/masters level (154) students will have an additional 50min-long section every week. On weeks 3,5,7 and 9 primary research papers will be discussed. You are required to attend the paper discussions. Other sections are optional.


Graduate level (254) students will have an additional two-hour discussion section every Friday starting Oct. 1, 1:15-3:05 pm, at Gilbert 117; three research papers will be discussed every week.  The course website containing lecture PDFs, discussion papers and other course materials can be found at


PhD students must register for 254 (up to 5 units); master and undergraduate students should register for 154 (4 units).


For Bio154 students:

You will have a weekly section with TAs starting from week 2.  In weeks 3, 5, 7 and 9, one research paper each is to be discussed in depth.  These discussions contribute towards 20% of the grade.  40% of the grade will be from a term paper due on Friday noon Nov. 19.  The rest 40% will be from a final exam on Dec 10th .


For Bio254 students:

Each week three primary research papers (PDFs posted on the coursework website) need to be read in advance and are discussed in depth. Discussion sections count towards 50% of the grade.  Another 50% comes from a Ògrant proposalÓ due by noon  on Dec 10th .



By the end of the lecture day, the entire presentation will be available in PDF to all registered students on the CourseWork website.

Reference books (reserved at Falconer Library):                                                                      

Kandel et al. Principles of Neural Science (2000)                        

Squire et al., Fundamental Neuroscience (2008)

No books could replace the lectures per se.

Therefore lecture attendance is essential!  


Lecture Schedule:


1.           Mon      Sept 20               Overview of nervous system organization                                                  Luo

2.           Wed     Sept 22               Action potential                                                                                                      Shen

3.           Mon      Sept 27               Synaptic transmission                                                                                          Shen

4.           Wed     Sept 29               Synapse development                                                                                         Shen

               Fri          Oct 1                    Discussion: Synapse                                                                                              Luo/Shen

5.           Mon      Oct 4                    Signal transduction                                                                                                Clandinin

6.           Wed     Oct 6                    Vision 1                                                                                                                       Clandinin

               Fri          Oct 8                    Discussion: Transduction                                                                                    Clandinin/Luo

7.           Mon      Oct 11                 Vision 2                                                                                                                       Clandinin

8.           Wed     Oct 13                 Vision 3                                                                                                                       Clandinin

               Fri          Oct 15                 Discussion: Vision                                                                                                  Clandinin/Luo

9.           Mon      Oct 18                 Olfaction 1                                                                                                                 Luo

10.         Wed     Oct 20                 Olfaction 2                                                                                                                 Luo

 .             Fri          Oct 22                 Discussion: Olfaction                                                                                            Clandinin/Luo

11.         Mon      Oct 25                 Circadian rhythm and sleep                                                                               Luo

12.         Wed     Oct 27                 Sexual behavior                                                                                                      Luo

               Fri          Oct 29                 Discussion: Time/Love                                                                                         Luo/Shen

13.         Mon      Nov 1                  Learning and memory 1                                                                                       Shen

14.         Wed     Nov 3                  Learning and memory 2                                                                                       Shen

               Fri          Nov 5                  Discussion: Learning/Memory                                                                          Clandinin/Shen

15.         Mon      Nov 8                  Neurological diseases                                                                                          Shen

16.         Wed     Nov 10                Evolution of the nervous system                                                                     Clandinin

               Fri          Nov 12                No grad discussion: SfN meeting

               Mon      Nov 15                No class: SfN meeting

17.         Wed     Nov 17                Future of neuroscience: guided discussion                                                Clandinin/Luo/Shen

               Fri          Nov 19                Discussion: Disease/Evolution                                                                         Clandinin/Shen



Papers for graduate discussions:


Oct 1 (synapse):


Synaptotagmin-1 functions as a Ca2+ sensor for spontaneous release.

Xu J, Pang ZP, Shin OH, SŸdhof TC.

Nat Neurosci. 2009 Jun;12(6):759-66.


Cbln1 is a ligand for an orphan glutamate receptor delta2, a bidirectional synapse organizer.

Matsuda K, Miura E, Miyazaki T, Kakegawa W, Emi K, Narumi S, Fukazawa Y, Ito-Ishida A, Kondo T, Shigemoto R, Watanabe M, Yuzaki M.

Science. 2010 Apr 16;328(5976):363-8.


An unbiased expression screen for synaptogenic proteins identifies the LRRTM protein family as synaptic organizers.

Linhoff MW, LaurŽn J, Cassidy RM, Dobie FA, Takahashi H, Nygaard HB, Airaksinen MS, Strittmatter SM, Craig AM.

Neuron. 2009 Mar 12;61(5):734-49.



Oct. 8 (transduction):


C. elegans TRP family protein TRP-4 is a pore-forming subunit of a native mechanotransduction channel.

Kang L, Gao J, Schafer WR, Xie Z, Xu XZ.

Neuron. 2010 Aug 12;67(3):381-91.


Sensory neuron-specific GPCR Mrgprs are itch receptors mediating chloroquine-induced pruritus.

Liu Q, Tang Z, Surdenikova L, Kim S, Patel KN, Kim A, Ru F, Guan Y, Weng HJ, Geng Y, Undem BJ, Kollarik M, Chen ZF, Anderson DJ, Dong X.

Cell. 2009 Dec 24;139(7):1353-65. Epub 2009 Dec 10.


Widespread transcription at neuronal activity-regulated enhancers.

Kim TK, Hemberg M, Gray JM, Costa AM, Bear DM, Wu J, Harmin DA, Laptewicz M, Barbara-Haley K, Kuersten S, Markenscoff-Papadimitriou E, Kuhl D, Bito H, Worley PF, Kreiman G, Greenberg ME.

Nature. 2010 May 13;465(7295):182-7. Epub 2010 Apr 14



Oct. 15 (vision):


Retinal input instructs alignment of visual topographic maps.

Triplett JW, Owens MT, Yamada J, Lemke G, Cang J, Stryker MP, Feldheim DA.

Cell. 2009 Oct 2;139(1):175-85.


Modulation of visual responses by behavioral state in mouse visual cortex.

Niell CM, Stryker MP.

Neuron. 2010 Feb 25;65(4):472-9.


Melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion-cell photoreceptors: cellular diversity and role in pattern vision.

Ecker JL, Dumitrescu ON, Wong KY, Alam NM, Chen SK, LeGates T, Renna JM, Prusky GT, Berson DM, Hattar S.

Neuron. 2010 Jul 15;67(1):49-60.



Oct. 22 (olfaction):


Odor information processing by the olfactory bulb analyzed in gene-targeted mice.

Tan J, Savigner A, Ma M, Luo M.

Neuron. 2010 Mar 25;65(6):912-26.


Select Drosophila glomeruli mediate innate olfactory attraction and aversion.

Semmelhack JL, Wang JW.

Nature. 2009 May 14;459(7244):218-23.


The vomeronasal organ mediates interspecies defensive behaviors through detection of protein pheromone homologs.

Papes F, Logan DW, Stowers L.

Cell. 2010 May 14;141(4):692-703.



Oct. 29 (love):


The male mouse pheromone ESP1 enhances female sexual receptive behaviour through a specific vomeronasal receptor.

Haga S, Hattori T, Sato T, Sato K, Matsuda S, Kobayakawa R, Sakano H, Yoshihara Y, Kikusui T, Touhara K.

Nature. 2010 Jul 1;466(7302):118-22.


Estrogen masculinizes neural pathways and sex-specific behaviors.

Wu MV, Manoli DS, Fraser EJ, Coats JK, Tollkuhn J, Honda S, Harada N, Shah NM.

Cell. 2009 Oct 2;139(1):61-72.


Sex-specific parent-of-origin allelic expression in the mouse brain.

Gregg C, Zhang J, Butler JE, Haig D, Dulac C.

Science. 2010 Aug 6;329(5992):682-5. Epub 2010 Jul 8.



Nov. 5 (learning and memory):


Input-specific spine entry of soma-derived Vesl-1S protein conforms to synaptic tagging.

Okada D, Ozawa F, Inokuchi K.

Science. 2009 May 15;324(5929):904-9.


Writing memories with light-addressable reinforcement circuitry.

Claridge-Chang A, Roorda RD, Vrontou E, Sjulson L, Li H, Hirsh J, Miesenbšck G.

Cell. 2009 Oct 16;139(2):405-15. Erratum in: Cell. 2009 Nov 25;139(5):1022.


Learning induces long-term potentiation in the hippocampus.

Whitlock JR, Heynen AJ, Shuler MG, Bear MF.

Science. 2006 Aug 25;313(5790):1093-7.



Nov. 19 (evolution and diseases):


APP binds DR6 to trigger axon pruning and neuron death via distinct caspases.

Nikolaev A, McLaughlin T, O'Leary DD, Tessier-Lavigne M.


Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 regulates neuronal progenitor proliferation via modulation of GSK3beta/beta-catenin signaling.

Mao Y, Ge X, Frank CL, Madison JM, Koehler AN, Doud MK, Tassa C, Berry EM, Soda T, Singh KK, Biechele T, Petryshen TL, Moon RT, Haggarty SJ, Tsai LH.

Cell. 2009 Mar 20;136(6):1017-31.


Analysis of Drosophila TRPA1 reveals an ancient origin for human chemical nociception.

Kang K, Pulver SR, Panzano VC, Chang EC, Griffith LC, Theobald DL, Garrity PA.

Nature. 2010 Mar 25;464(7288):597-600. Epub 2010 Mar 17.



Maintained by Egle Cekanaviciute (