New search
download case
  • Overview
  • Teaching Notes
  • Answer Key
  • Comments/Replies

Protein Targeting Gone Awry

The Importance of Proper Localization


Michèle I. Shuster
Department of Biology
New Mexico State University


This case study synthesizes students' knowledge of the central dogma and cell structure by examining a rare health disorder in order to understand protein targeting and its medical consequences. Students first identify the molecular alteration in affected members of a family with renal Fanconi syndrome as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (2014). Students then use an online bioinformatics tool to analyze the wildtype and mutant proteins and examine their subcellular localization. Finally, students use this information to explain the symptoms of affected family members. The case is delivered with a PowerPoint presentation that includes a selection of brainstorming prompts and "clicker questions." Students complete a worksheet (included in the teaching notes) before class, making the activity suitable for a flipped classroom. A second worksheet (also included in the teaching notes) is completed during class. The case is written for an introductory biology course for majors, but could also be used as a unit capstone in a non-majors human biology course; the case is also scalable to upper division courses in physiology that specifically explore kidney function.

  • Define the sequence and location of a protein targeting sequence.
  • Use open-access bioinformatics tools to analyze proteins for the presence or absence of specific protein targeting sequences.
  • Predict the localization of proteins, given their targeting sequences.
  • Explain specific symptoms associated with inappropriate protein targeting.
Keywords: peroxisome; lysosome; kidney; protein targeting; Fanconi syndrome; mitochondria
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Clicker, Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Cell Biology   Physiology   Genetics / Heredity   Molecular Biology  
Date Posted: 2/3/2018
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.

Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

  Download Teaching Notes

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

  Get Answer Key

City State:
security code
Enter Security Code: