Biology of cells of higher organisms: Structure, function, and biosynthesis of cellular membranes and organelles; cell growth and oncogenic transformation; transport, receptors, and cell signaling; the cytoskeleton, the extracellular matrix, and cell movements; chromatin structure and RNA synthesis.


A strong familiarity with basic genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology as taught in the prerequisites 7.01x (Introductory Biology), 7.03 (Genetics) and 7.05 (General Biochemistry) is assumed knowledge for this course. Some research experience and/or 7.02 (Introduction to Experimental Biology and Communication) are advantageous for students in the course, as it is heavily focused on experiments. We assume that you are thoroughly familiar with the material in chapters 1-4 and 9 of the textbook Molecular Cell Biology by Lodish, et al. before taking this course. If you are having problems with this introductory material, please see your teaching assistant or one of the course professors.


The required textbook for this course is:

Lodish, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 5th ed. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman and Company, 2003. ISBN: 9780716743668.

Chapters 1 through 4 and the genetic and molecular techniques described in Chapter 9 are essential and required background knowledge for the course. You should also be very familiar with the material in these 5 chapters before you take 7.06. Reviewing these 5 chapters will give you a good sense for whether you have adequate background to take this course.


There is one required recitation per week.


Your overall course grade will be an average of your four exam scores. All exam scores count equally. No exam score will be dropped.


There will be three quizzes worth 100 points each given during the term, and one quiz worth 100 points given during finals week. The fourth exam for the class is not cumulative in terms of material/information covered on the other three exams. However, you will be held responsible for the experimental techniques that we discuss throughout the course, which can be applied when studying a wide range of topics. Quiz Review Sessions will be held prior to each quiz.

If you feel that your answer was graded incorrectly, please submit a written explanation of your regrade request to the course professor. Please note that all quizzes are photocopied before they are returned to the students. Quizzes must be submitted for regrading by the deadlines announced in class.

Problem Sets

This course includes four problem sets. They will not be graded.

Intellectual Honesty

We hope and trust that academic misconduct will not occur during this course. We nevertheless want to emphasize that we will be rigorous in our enforcement of Biology Department and Institute rules. It is the policy of the Department to keep a record of all cases of academic misconduct and to forward cases to the Dean of Undergraduate and Student Affairs. To guard against the possibility that dishonesty will go undetected, we will xerox all exams and regrade exams from these xerox copies.


The calendar below provides information on the course's lecture (L) and exam (E) sessions.

L1 Road map of course, what is and what is not cell biology, properties and behaviors of cells
L2 Structure of biological membranes, lipids and lipid modification, membrane proteins
L3 Pumps, channels, transporters
L4 Receptors, basics of signal transduction (Note: Reprise and extension in lecture 14)
L5 Protein secretion, biogenesis of membrane proteins
E1 Exam I (lectures 1-5)
L6 Regulation of the cell division cycle
L7 Regulation of DNA replication
L8 The microtubule cytoskeleton
L9 Regulation of mitosis
L10 Meiosis
L11 Cell cycle checkpoints
E2 Exam II (lectures 6-11)
L12 Protein modifications and intracellular transport, glycosylation, vesicular transport, receptor mediated endocytosis, lysosomes, organelle biogenesis
L13 Protein modifications and intracellular transport II
L14 Signal transduction: Detailed molecular mechanisms
L15 Nerve cells, ion channels, synapse, Ca++ regulated events
L16 Nerve cells II
L17 Immunity and host pathogen interactions I
L18 Immunity and host pathogen interactions II
E3 Exam III (lectures 12-18)
L19 The actin-myosin cytoskeleton
L20 The extracellular matrix
L21 Cancer I
L22 Cancer II
L23 Stem cells and cloning
E4 Exam IV (lectures 19-23)