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Cellular signal transduction



This course will discuss the basic concepts of cellular signal transduction mediated by both membrane-bound and nuclear receptors. Receptor-mediated signaling involves kinases, GPCRs and nuclear hormone receptors and the role of altered cell signaling in disease development, progression and drug development is discussed.
Disease development and progression is largely due to the activation and or modulation of cellular signaling. Thus, mutations in key signaling pathway that drive cell proliferation are key to cancer development. In atherosclerosis immune signaling is essential to promote plaque formation. Given the involvement of perturbed signaling in disease, components of signaling networks are important candidate drug targets. The course will discuss the concepts of cellular signal transduction and focus on receptor kinases, G-protein coupled receptors and nuclear hormone receptors. We will discuss how these receptors are activated and which downstream signaling pathways are subsequently activated. Moreover, we will discuss how these different signaling pathways are also integrated in complex signaling networks that control biological outcome. We will further illustrate in what way these signaling pathways are involved in disease development and progression and how we can make use of this knowledge to develop novel therapeutic strategies using cancer and atherosclerosis as examples.
The aim of the course CST is to provide a strong basis to the understanding of cellular signal transduction, its role in disease and its application in drug development.

Course Objectives

  • To gain insights in the basic concepts of cellular signal transduction

  • To understand how membrane-bound and nuclear receptors signal.

  • To get deeper knowledge about the functioning and regulation of kinases, GPCRs, nuclear hormone receptors and cytokine receptors.

  • To understand the overall concept that altered cell signaling pathways are involved in disease development, progression and can therefore be utilized as drug targets for drug development.

  • To gain insight in the role of kinase signaling in cancer development and progression and as drug targets.

  • To gain knowledge on the role of immune signaling in development and progression of atherosclerosis.

  • To understand how cellular signaling is involved in adverse drug reactions.

  • To be able to relate different signaling pathways and their interaction in disease progression.

Reading list

Literature will be provided during the course.


Dhr. Dr. E. Danen

Mode of instruction

The course will use a combination of lectures, discussions of assigned literature and student-led presentations. Most of the lectures will be offered in the morning. Different literature-based work group discussions will provide direct interaction between students and staff. Students will work in groups on an assignment to integrate different signaling pathways and therapeutic application in disease.

Assessment method

A presentation and report on the assignment as well as a written exam. Students will be graded individually for the presentation/report and for the written exam. Assignment will account for 25% and written exam for 75%.

Admission requirements & Registration

This course is mandatory for students who do the Minor ‘Disease Signaling and Drug Targets’ (DSDT) and these students will be given priority. Ten additional places are available to students outside the minor under the condition that they meet the admission criteria. The same admission criteria apply to this course as for the entire Minor DSDT. Application for students outside the Minor DSDT occurs via the study advisers of Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences only.