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My Dog is Broken!

A Case Study in Cell Signaling



Author:

Lynn Diener
Biology Department
Mount Mary College
dienerl@mtmary.edu

Abstract:

Cell signaling is one of the more difficult concepts for students to understand in their study of cell biology. To help students better understand the process of cell signaling, from reception to cellular response, a fairly simple signal pathway is used as an example in this case study in which students read a series of instant messages and emails between two friends trying to determine what is causing erectile dysfunction in a prize winning dog. The case was developed for use in an introductory biology course, but could also be used in a cell biology course.

Objectives:
  • Understand and apply important vocabulary in cellular communication.
  • Understand the importance of proteins and non-protein messengers in cellular communication.
  • Understand how drugs can be used to treat a condition controlled by a cell signaling pathway.
  • Understand how a cell signaling pathway can be blocked.
  • Be able to explain a visual representation of a cell signaling pathway.
Keywords: Cell signaling; signal transduction; signal amplification; cell membrane; phosphodiesterase; erectile dysfunction; ginseng; Viagra
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Directed
Language: English
Subject Headings: Cell Biology   Biology (General)  
Date Posted: 01/22/08
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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I can see my student's eyes glaze over when we start talking about cell signaling. The chorus of "ugh" fills my room. However, my kids LOVE this case study because of the humor in the problem. They are interested in understanding exactly how "male enhancement drugs" work, but are afraid to ask. This is a way for my students to giggle about cell signaling rather than groan about it.


Amy Muzzarelli
Science
Elk Rapids High School
Elk Rapids, MI
amuzzarelli@elkrapids.k12.mi.us
4/14/2011



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