GMS PA 801

GMS PA 801 Special Topics in Pathology-Transmembrane Signaling

Course directors

  • Jan K. Blusztajn, Dept. Pathology, L808
  • Barbara E. Slack, Dept. Pathology, L808

This course will provide an overview of the signaling mechanisms that cells use to translate external signals into specific intracellular responses, thereby regulating cell growth, division, differentiation, movement, and cell-cell communication. A subset of the most important of these signaling pathways will be examined in detail.

Topics that will be covered may include, but are not limited to

  1. Introduction, membrane structure, lipids, proteins, ion channels
  2. 7-transmembrane receptors and G proteins
  3. Cyclic nucleotide second messengers, protein kinases, CREB, target gene transcription
  4. Signaling through phosphoinositide hydrolysis, protein kinase C (PKC), calcium signaling, calmodulin-dependent kinases, gene transcription
  5. Receptor and non-receptor tyrosine kinases, the Ras-MAPK pathway
  6. TGFbeta signaling, smad proteins
  7. Cytokine signaling, Jak Stat pathways
  8. Wnt signaling
  9. Signal transduction and cancer
  10. Integrated signaling pathways: 1) photo transduction; 2) the mTOR cascade


Each two-hour segment will consist of a lecture (60 to 90 minutes) followed by student presentations of an assigned paper and class discussion.


There will be a midterm and a final exam. Both exams will consist of questions requiring short essay responses. Some questions will require interpretation of original data.

  • Midterm exam (45%)
  • Final exam (45%)
  • Class presentations and participation (10%)