Protein Trafficking

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Course description

This course covers the basic concepts and current development of protein trafficking in eukaryotic cells. Specific topics include: Introduction to protein trafficking, basic concepts of protein trafficking, the endomemebrane system, the protein degradation system, mRNA sorting, transport vesicle, receptor-mediated protein sorting, autophagosome and autophagic pathway, and unconventional protein secretion pathway.

As part of the flipped-classroom, each topic is supported and supplemented by one to three iCell or iProtein movies, that are derived and developed from the related research and/or review papers in this research field.


Learning target

Basic Concepts of Protein Trafficking
• To understand the basic concepts of protein trafficking, and have basic ideas about protein synthesis, protein targeting and protein degradation.

The Secretory Pathway
• To learn about the compartments of the secretory pathway and signal peptide in protein and to understand the mechanism in protein folding, protein transport and protein sorting.

Protein Degradation System
• To understand the mechanism of protein degradation including UBQ-Proteasome degradation system, the N-end Rule and the degradation of Mis-folded ER Protein.

mRNA Sorting
• To understand the mechanism of mRNA sorting in Eukaryotes and Prokaryotes, as well as to learn about the techniques to visualize mRNA localization.

COPII Vesicles
• To learn about the discovery of COPII and the mechanism of COPII vesicle formation, as well as the usage of in vitro budding assay.

Autophagy and Autophagosome
• To understand the basic concepts and the membrane origin of Autophagosome, as well as the mechanism of autophagy.

• To learn about EXPO as a novel organelle and the Golgi-retention signal on EMP12.

Case Study 1 – COPII, VSR and Organelle pH
• To discuss publications related to COPII, VSR and Organelle pH

Case Study 2 – Vacuole Biogenesis
• To discuss publications related to vacuoles formation

Case Study 3 – EXPO Dynamics and Function
• To discuss publications related to EXPO dynamics and function

Learning requirement

Target Audience
• Undergraduate (years 3-4) and Post-graduate (years 1-2) students

Needed Learner Background
• Basic Knowledge in Cell Biology

Estimated Learner Engagement Time
• 1 hour per week on video lectures, quizzes and forum discussions

Assessment standard


Teaching material

Molecular Biology of THE CELL (2016) by Prescott, Harley & Klein (McGraw-Hill Education)
ISBN 0-321-55418-3 / 978-0-321-55418-5
(not compulsory)