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BI 149: Intro and History of Cells

 “The key to every biological problem must finally be sought in the cell; for every living
organism is, or at some time has been, a cell.” – E.B. Wilson, pioneer cell biologist
 The term “cell”
o Coined by Robert Hooke, 1665
 Looked at cork cells, saw only cell wall
o Anton van leeuwenhook, 1670s – better lenses
 Saw more of the cells and wrote/drew them  “animalcules”
 First to describe human cells (sperm cells)
 Cell Theory
o All living organisms are composed of one or more cells
o The cell is the structural unit of life  fundamental unit that shows characteristics of life
o “Omnis cellula e cellula” (1855)  only cells can give birth to other cells
o Tenets of the cell theory:
 What constrained cells to small sizes?
o Metabolic activity gets lower as size increases
o To maximize metabolic activity, there must be specific surface area to volume ratio
 Definition of Cells
o Cells are alive
 Henrietta Lacks: her cervical cancer cells didn’t die
 Cell lines: immortal  important characteristic for cancer cells
o Cells are highly complex and organized
 Emergent properties: whole is more than the sum of its parts
 Basic requirements: CELL
 Plasma membrane – lipid bilayer that is semi-permeable
 Cytoplasm – cytosol, molecules, molecular complexes (ex. ribosome: protein
 DNA – genetic material: inheritance; contains info needed to build cell structures,
run cell activities, and create more cells
o DNA transcribed to RNA then to proteins
o Cells acquire and utilize energy
 Energy – develop and maintain complexity
 Without energy, cells are Inclined towards increased entropy
o Cells carry out a variety of chemical reactions
 Energy used for metabolism – chemical transformation
 Energy makes use of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate): “mobile” E
 Stored in high energy covalent bonds (Phosphoanhydride)
 ATP  ADP + P + energy
o Cells engage in mechanical activities
o Cells are able to respond to stimuli
 Stimuli: light, temperature, odor, hormones
 Response to stimuli: movement, reproduction, metabolic changes, production of
proteins (gene expression)
 Absence of stimuli  apoptosis
o Cells are capable of self-regulation
 DNA Damage  either REPAIR or IRREPARABLE  IRREPARABLE: Cell cycle
checkpoints, tumor suppressor, proteins (APOPTOSIS) OR cell cycle control,
deficiency, cell survival (CANCER)
 Multicellularity and Differentiation: Unlike single celled organisms which compete to
survive, cells of multicellular organisms are committed to collaboration
o Cells are capable of producing more of themselves
o Cells possess a genetic program and the means to use it
 Hereditary info in the fertilized cell determines the nature of the whole multicellular
 Gene expression
 Flow: DNA  transcription  RNA  translation  proteins
 All cells translate RNA into protein the same way
 Universal way of translation  UNITY IN DIVERSITY

o Cells EVOLVE
 Mutation: agent of evolution (involved in process of evolution
 Leads to variation in traits
 Change to your DNA (genetic info)
 Variation in traits  Leads to NATURAL SELECTION
o Advantageous mutation
o Disadvantageous mutation
o Neutral mutation
 Structural Homology
 Product of a similar ancestry / shared ancestry
 Where did all these organisms come from?
 How did life evolve from this common ancestor cell? Because of mutation
 4 Modes of Genetic Innovation
 Intragenic Mutation
 Gene Duplication
 DNA Segment Shuffling: DNAa + DNAb = exchange of genetic parts
 Horizontal Transfer: can happen with virus infection
 Evolution of the human hemoglobin
 Homologous genes = homologous proteins
 Biochemical Homology
 Gene sequence = gene function
o Bacterial conjugation
 Allows horizontal transfer of genetic material between bacteria
 Easy for unicellular organism
 Happens to multicellular organisms through vectors such as viruses
 Viruses can pick up fragments of DNA from the genome of one host cell and
transfer them to another
 Living organisms have similar viral DNA
o Viruses: Are they alive?

 No  they need a host to survive but their components are similar to living cells
o DNA Packaging
 Prokaryotes: naked
 Structurally and metabolically diverse
 absence of nuclear membrane
 Eukaryotes: chromatid
 Highly associated with proteins (histones)
 Origin: evolved via 2 step process
o Nitrobacter: increase in # of folds = increase in surface area = increase
o Acquisition of intracellular cell membranes
 nuclear membrane
 ER  sER, rER
 Golgi complex
 Transport vesicles
 Vacuoles
 Peroxisomes
o Symbiosis: mitochondria (ATP synthesis) and chloroplast (photosynthesis)
 Energy transformation
 Have endosymbionts  prokaryote engulfed a bacteria that can do energy
transformation; eukaryotes have hybrid genomes
 Mit DNA and cp DNA
 Genetic language and structural similarities support endosymbionts
 Advantages of multicellularity
o Volvox: unicellular algae that are colonial
o Complexity, specialization of cells
o Size and specialization among advantages of multicellularity
o All cells are committed to collaboration; if one fails, detriment of all
 Human Gene Evolution and Technology
o Evidence suggesting organisms derived from a common ancestor
 Metabolic pathways

 Structure and functional relationships
o Barcoding of Life: digital identification for life
o Model Organisms
 Can represent a certain taxonomic group
 Example of species:
 E. Coli – prokaryotic
 S. cerevisiae – Baker’s yeast - eukaryotic
o DNA sequence databases
 From all over the world
 Aligned with each other for easy access of DNA data
o All these brought in GENOMICS
o Mutation Analysis
 Turning on and off of certain genes
 Impact of gene duplication on vertebrates
 Can induce mutation for vertebrate but will only get a redundant gene (not much
difference/mutation)  genetic redundancy
 Mouse has become foremost model organism for most organism for experimental
studies of vertebrate genetics with mutations mimicking corresponding mutations
in humans
 Genomics
o Structural studies: just sequencing the gene
o Comparative studies:
o Craig Venter: one of the people who approached the national institutes of health to
collaborate in sequencing the human genome
 This allowed technologies to develop much faster because there was no competition
o Vertebrates: Genetic Divergence and Redundancy
 Vertebrates have a lot of gene redundancy
 Homologous genes from duplication  spare genes, more room for error
 Ancestral organism (gene G)  gene duplication and divergence  later ancestral
origin (gene G1 and G2 are paralogs)
 Advantageous to have multiple copies of the gene for back-up

 Important role in genetic analysis
 Genetic redundancy – not present or little evidence for invertebrates, makes the
vertebrates more complex
 Due to genetic redundancy, sometimes hard to pinpoint gene function due to shared
genes (homology)
 Synthetic Biology