A Kinesthetic Model Demonstrating Molecular Interactions Involved in Anterior-Posterior Pattern Formation in Drosophila.
Douglas KR
Cell Biology Education (2008)
Category: teaching ¤ Added: Apr 18, 2008 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
Prerequisites for the Developmental Biology course at Augustana College are introductory courses in zoology and cell biology. After introductory courses students appreciate the fact that proteins have three-dimensional structures; however, they often fail to recognize how protein interactions with other cellular components can lead to specific cellular responses. One of the first topics covered in Augustana’s Developmental Biology course is anterior-posterior axis determination in Drosophila. In the past, the subject was taught with a series of graphs demonstrating mRNA and protein concentrations along the anterior-posterior axis. However, this pedagogy was too conceptual for the majority of students enrolled in the course. To aid their understanding, a kinesthetic model of the molecular interactions involving bicoid, nanos, hunchback, and caudal transcripts and proteins utilizing colored pipe cleaners and beads was created. Students model molecular interactions between proteins (beads) and transcripts (pipe cleaners) by placing the appropriate bead on the appropriate pipe cleaner. After working with the model, the concept of molecular interactions became more concrete to students, and they were able to conceptualize anterior-posterior axis determination in Drosophila more clearly. Throughout the rest of the course, students were able to understand molecular interactions without the aid of additional models.