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Special Issues in Cell Biology

Winter Semester
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Biological membranes. Plasma membrane microdomains. Lipid Shells, Caveolae and Lipid Rafts. Caveolae as plasma membrane sensors and organizers. Membrane curvature and homesostasis. Cytoskeleton. Ciliogenesis: building the cell’s antenna. Cilia defects and ciliopathies.Molecular architecture of centriole assembly. Septins: the fourth component of the cytoskeleton. Architecture and dynamic remodelling of the septin cytoskeleton during the cell cycle.

The secretory pathway. Inheritance and biogenesis of organelles in the secretory pathway. Dynamics and diversity in autophagy mechanisms. Implication of endosomes and lysosomes in gene transfer. Erythroblast enucleation. The cell biology of lysosomal storage disorders. Cellular cholesterol trafficking and transport. Mechanisms of pathogen entry through the endosomal compartments. Entry of viruses through the epithelial barrier. Exosomes, extracellular vesicles and their potential roles in regenerative medicine. Mitochondria: structure, functions and dysfunctions. Endoplasmic reticulum–mitochondria contacts. Mechanisms of mitophagy. Cell nucleus. Breaching the nuclear envelope in development and disease. Laminopathies. The nucleoskeleton as a genomeassociated dynamic ‘network of networks’. Biogenesis and transport of nuclear membrane proteins. Mechanobiology. Mechanotransduction at a distance: mechanically coupling the extracellular matrix with the nucleus. Architectural control of mechanotransduction. Extracellular matrix, components and functions. Extracellular matrix assembly and remodeling in development and disease. The function of fibroblasts in cancer. Cell junctions. Endothelial cell-cell junctions.

Membrane nanotubes – cytonemes: dynamic long-distance connections between animal cells. Cytonemes: membrane tubulovesicular extensions as secretory and adhesive cellular organelles. The example of Hedgehog. Properties of polarized epithelial cells. Organelle positioning and cell polarity. Organization of vesicular trafficking in epithelia. From cells to organs: building polarized tissue. Cell division. Asymmetric cell division: recent developments and their implications for tumour biology. Divisions of the stem cells of the skin. Modes of programmed cell death and the signals emanating from dying cells. Cell differentiation. Dedifferentiation, transdifferentiation and reprogramming: three routes to regeneration. How cells change their phenotype.

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The Department of Biology of the University of Crete was established in 1981 and is today an internationally recognized center for contemporary university education and research in the field of Biology.

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