Bio352 Group Investigation:
Genetics of Mitochondrial Structure in Drosophila Spermatogenesis

Spring 2008, Davidson College

Thursdays 1:00-3:45 in Dana 201
Dr. Karen Hales, Dana 201,
Phone x2324, email kahales
Dr. Hales's home page
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Course description: In this research-based course we will perform experiments to elucidate genetic mechanisms of how mitochondria are moved and shaped properly in developing sperm cells of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Approaches will include fly husbandry, DNA manipulation, and/or microscopy. Students should expect to spend at least 10 hours a week on this course, including the scheduled weekly meetings plus additional time in the lab working semi-independently. Students will be graded on an initial project proposal, participation and engagement, performance in journal article discussions, a final poster presentation on the project, and contributions to a manuscript to be submitted for publication.See the Bio301lab manual (log in with email credentials) for background on Drosophila spermatogenesis and for an example of the type of group experiment that may be performed.

Prerequisites: Bio 111 required; Bio 301 or 308 strongly recommended.

Time commitment: In addition to our Thursday afternoon weekly meetings, you are expected to put in additional time as your experiments require. You will have CatCard access to the building.

Email: You are responsible for all information sent by email, so check your messages every day.

Reading: There are no textbooks for this course. We will be reading and discussing papers from the literature that are essential background for the manuscript that we will draft.

Lab notes and data storage: You are required to keep a binder of detailed and organized lab notes and a folder of images/data on the lab computer. All electronic files should be clearly cross-referenced to the appropriate page/date in your lab notebook. Please back up your images/data on a flash drive and/or a CD. Also, once a month give me your data to back up on my office computer.

Weekly data and journal presentations: You will give a data presentation each week, and on some weeks you will lead discussion on journal articles.

Weekly individual communication with me: Each week you must either meet with me in person individually or send me an email to describe 1) your time and effort in the lab, 2) any current frustrations and questions, and 3) your plans for the upcoming week.

Manuscript contributions: As a group we will be drafting a manuscript on the mitoshell gene for submission to a journal. Keep separate Word files to document your own original contributions that are incorporated into the group effort.

Grading: Your grade will be calculated as follows:

Written project description/proposal
Weekly data presentations
Article discussions
Contributions to manuscript
Final poster

Final grade


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Jan 17
Where does the mitoshell project currently stand?
How to do literature searches, how to recognize the most important papers, and how to obtain PDFs

Outline results section for paper; plan and divy up remaining experiments.
Outline topics for introduction of paper; do literature searches

Jan 24

Outcomes of literature searches
Individual presentations to explain each project; must also turn in a 1-2 page narrative proposal.

Discussion of cytokinesis review article
Barr and Gruneberg, 2007, Cell 131: 847-860.

Determine which papers are most important to read, and set up schedule.
Envision figures for results section of paper and work on figures for which we already have data.
Jan 31
Data presentations
Discussion of articles:
Giansanti et al., 2001, Cell Struct Func 26: 609-617 .
Giansanti et al., 2004, Molec Biol Cell 5: 2509-2522.
Work on experiments.
Feb 7
Data presentations
Discussion of articles:
Basu and Li, 1998, Mol Gen Genet 259: 664-673.
Ichihara et al., 2007, Cell Struct Func 32: 89-100.
Work on experiments.
Feb 14
Data presentations
Discussion of articles:
Smith et al., 2004, Eukaryotic Cell 3: 1217-1226
Baker et al., 2004, Development 131: 3411-3422.
Work on experiments.
Feb 21
Data presentations
Discussion of articles:
Piekny and Glotzer, 2008, Current Biology 18: 30-36.
Spiliotis and Nelson, 2006, J Cell Sci 114: 4-10

Draft section of introduction.
Work on experiments.
Feb 28
Data presentations
Discussion of articles:
Farkas et al., 2003, Mol Biol Cell 14: 90-100.
Godi et al., 2004, Nature Cell Biol 5: 393-404.
Discuss how the papers we have read so far fit together, and what we still need to know
Work on experiments.
Mar 6
Spring break  
Mar 13

Data presentations
Discussion of article:
Dorogova et al., 2008, BMC Cell Biology 9:1-15

Work on experiments.
Mar 20
Data presentations
Discussion of article: Rabionet et al., 2008, JBC in press.
Discuss how the papers we have read so far fit together, and what we still need to know
Expand introduction to include new information.
Work on experiments.
Mar 27
Data presentations
Discussion of article: Fridberg et al., 2008, J Cell Sci 121: 522-535.
Work on experiments.
Apr 3
No meeting; Dr. H at Drosophila conference in San Diego Work on experiments.
Apr 10
Conference report
Data presentations
Discussion of article: Mikhaylova et al., 2006, PNAS 103: 11975-11980

Work on experiments.
Draft materials and methods for paper.

Apr 17
Data presentations
Discussion of article(s) TBD
Discuss how the papers we have read so far fit together, and what we still need to know
Expand introduction to include new information.
Outline discussion section.
Work on experiments.
Apr 24
Data presentations
Discussion of article(s) TBD
Refine new data figures for poster and paper.
Draft results section.
Work on experiments.
May 1
Data presentations
Discussion of article(s) TBD
Wrap up discussion

Refine new data figures for poster and paper.
Complete poster.
Tie up loose ends with experiments.



WWW resources
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Literature browsing/searching

Browse current journals
Search Pubmed
Search HighWire Press
Genetics news

Drosophila resources

A quick and simple introduction to Drosophila
Fly husbandry primer by Michael Socolich
Fly husbandry guidelines by Grace Panganiban
Fly protocols from WWW Virtual Library
FlyBase at Indiana University
Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project
Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center
Interactive Fly
WWW Virtual Library: Drosophila
Drosophila labs on the web
Annual Drosophila Research Conference
Drosophila news group

Mitochondria resources

Mitochondrial Research Society
Mitochondria Interest Group at NIH
Mitochondrial Medicine Society
United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
Children's Mitochondrial Disease Network


Sequence analysis

NCBI Main Page
BLAST search for similar nt or aa sequences
Entrez retrieve records from sequence databases
CLUSTALW Multiple Sequence Alignment
Transmembrane domain prediction
PSORT prediction of subcellular localization


Labs working on Drosophila spermatogenesis

Chris Bazinet (St. Johns)
Julie Brill (Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto)
Steve DiNardo (University of Pennsylvania)
Margaret Fuller (Stanford; follow link on dept page)
Maurizio Gatti (Universita' di Roma "La Sapienza")
Erika Matunis (Johns Hopkins)
Angus McQuibban (University of Toronto)
Steve Wasserman (UC San Diego)
Helen White-Cooper (Oxford)

Labs working on mitochondrial morphogenesis in yeast

Rob Jensen (Johns Hopkins)
Jodi Nunnari (UC Davis)
Liza Pon (Columbia)
Janet Shaw (University of Utah)
Peter Thorsness (University of Wyoming)
Benedikt Westermann (Universität Bayreuth)

Labs working on mitochondrial morphogenesis in other systems

Pascale Belenguer (Université Paul Sabatier)
David Chan (CalTech)
David Logan (St. Andrews, Scotland)
Mark McNiven (Mayo Clinic)
Alex van der Bliek (UCLA)



Davidson Biology

Dr. Hales's home page

© Copyright 2008 Department of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson NC 28035
last modified March 20, 2008 by K. Hales