Cell Regulation

Academic year
Subject Area
Molecular and Cell Biology
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

The students should have the scientific background required for in-depth learning of cell regulation processes, with emphasis in signal transduction and intracellular signaling mechanisms. Prior attendance of the following courses is recommended: Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Genetics. The students should be proficient in written English, in order to handle the recommended bibliography (mostly books and articles in English) and to carry out the bibliographic searches for the presentation of specific topics (in the context of regular classes) and for the discussion of scientific articles (in the context of seminars).

Teaching Methods

The teaching is mainly interactive and expository lectures are avoided, thus stimulating the active participation of students. An important aspect is that students are encouraged to contribute to the main classes by lecturing selected topics relevant to the teaching programme; this is followed by a general discussion involving the whole group. The active involvement of students in seminars is promoted by the analysis and discussion of scientific articles suggested by the teacher; this activity is performed in small groups.

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to acquire advanced knowledge on processes of cell regulation at the molecular level, with emphasis on signal transduction and cell signaling mechanisms such as (i) membrane receptors and second messengers; (ii) G proteins and signal amplification; (iii) signaling domains and modules; and, (iv) role of membrane lipids in cell signaling.

In spite of an appreciable diversity of scientific backgrounds, students are expected to progress rapidly from fundamental to more complex subjects in such a way that they become competent to deal with state-of-the-art, close to research issues. 

Students are expected to develop skills in critical thinking, autonomous learning and group work, which are essential to tackle complex issues in a creative fashion.

Students are expected to strengthen their skills in reading, bibliographic searching and communication, thus stimulating their interest for research.

Work Placement(s)



(1) Signaling operators 1: receptors and second messengers. Ionotropic and metabotropic receptors. Insulin receptor (InsR) signaling. InsR, insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus.

(2) Signaling operators 2: heterotrimeric and monomeric (Ras) G proteins. Guanine nucleotide exchange factors. G proteins and amplification of receptor action.

(3) Signaling operators 3: signaling domains. Signaling by isoforms of phosphoinositide-specific phospholipases and PKC. Ca2+ sensors in proteins.

(4) Signaling operators 4: lipid-protein interactions. Role of lipids in the topological organization and conformational dynamics of membrane proteins.

(5) Seminars on special issues in signal transduction.

(6) Simulation of experimental work (dry-lab) on cell signaling, involving discussion of the methodological background and contact with laboratory instrumentation.

Head Lecturer(s)

Luís Manuel de Oliveira Martinho do Rosário

Assessment Methods

Laboratory work or Field work: 10.0%
Seminar presentation: 10.0%
Exam: 80.0%


1) Signal Transduction. B. Gomperts, Academic Press, 2nd ed., 2009;

2) Life - as a Matter of Fat: The Emerging Science of Lipidomics. O.G. Mouritsen, Springer, 2005;

3) Membrane Microdomain Signaling: Lipid Rafts in Biology and Medicine. M.P. Mattson, Humana Press, 1st ed., 2005;

4) Plant Physiology. L. Taiz & E. Zeiger, Sinauer Associates, Inc., 5th ed.,  2010;

5) Molecular Cell Biology. H. Lodish, A. Berk, C.A. Kaiser, M. Krieger, M.P. Scott, A. Bretscher, H. Ploegh & P. Matsudaira, W.H. Freeman, 6th ed., 2007;

6) Lehninger principles of biochemistry. D.L. Nelson & M.M. Cox, W.H. Freeman, 6th ed., 2013.


São ainda recomendados vários artigos científicos como bibliografia suplementar.

Several scientific articles are also recommended as supplementary bibliography.