Molecular Biology of the Cell: Reference Edition / Edition 5

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Ideal for libraries, laboratories, and researchers, this Reference Edition of Molecular Biology of the Cell, Fifth Edition offers an alternative to the student version by providing the complete text of Chapters 1-25 in printed format.* For nearly a quarter century Molecular Biology of the Cell has been the leading in-depth text reference in cell biology. This tradition continues with the new Fifth Edition, which has been completely revised and updated to describe our current, rapidly advancing understanding of cell biology. To list but a few examples, a large amount of new material is presented on epigenetics; stem cells; RNAi; comparative genomics; the latest cancer therapies; apoptosis (now its own separate chapter); and cell cycle control and the mechanics of M phase (now integrated into one chapter). The hallmark features of Molecular Biology of the Cell have been retained, such as its consistent and comprehensive art program, clear concept headings, and succinct section summaries. Additionally, in response to extensive feedback from readers, the Fifth Edition now includes several new features. Most importantly for scientists and researchers, the free Media DVD, which is packaged with every copy of the book, now contains PowerPointr presentations with all of the figures, tables and micrographs from the book (available as JPEGs too). Also included is the Media Player with over 125 movies-animations, videos, and molecular models-all with voiceover narration. These PowerPoint slides and movies are ideal for presentations and research talks. And for the first time, Molecular Biology of the Cell now contains end-of-chapter questions. These problems, written by John Wilson and Tim Hunt, emphasize a quantitative approach and the art of reasoning from experiments. Molecular Biology of the Cell: Reference Edition is conceptual, accurate and authoritative. An extensive, detailed index provides instant access to the most crucial inform

The book contains both black-and-white and color illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Throughout the book, emphasis is placed not just on what 'we know' but also on 'how we know' and 'what remains to be discovered'- important for engaging and enthusing students....A quarter of a century after the first edition revolutionised cell biology textbooks, the new edition is as fresh, comprehensive and above all, as readable as ever....Like its predecessors, this is a superb textbook for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students."

-British Society for Developmental Biology Newsletter, Summer 2008, Vol. 29, No. 1

"Professors, lecturers, and instructors will find the fifth edition of the book Molecular Biology of the Cell and its accompanying Problems Book to be an excellent choice for guiding their students through the maze of the cell's molecular structures and biochemical processes....With countless colorful illustrations and a large number of photographs and tables, reading the text becomes not only an educational experience, but also a highly enjoyable one for those students who wish to discover the inner workings of the magnificent cellular machine....Educators will also find the DVD-ROM to be a rich electronic resource when compiling their lectures....No less important is the Problems Book, which contains numerous exercises and questions that are an integral part of the learning process, and that teachers, instructors, and students are sure to appreciate."

The Quarterly Review of Biology, September 2008, Volume 83, Number 3

"It has been 25 years since the first edition of Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC) was published, which means that roughly half of today's practicing scientists do not remember life without this cell biology 'bible'. The other half might recall how the book almost instantly filled a void with refreshingly clear and engaging writing illustrated with extensive diagrams and figures….MBoC has only improved over its several editions, growing with the rapid advances in the field to become an essential resource for students at all levels and a trusted first stop for researchers transitioning into unfamiliar areas of cell biology….An enduring strength of the book is that it remains a comprehensive textbook….In addition to the comprehensive updating of every chapter, another reason to consider acquiring edition five is the improved integration of the print volume with an extensive array of videos and animations in the 'Cell Biology Interactive' provided on the accompanying DVD….Another welcome improvement in MBoC5 helps link the textbook to the lab - there are now problems printed at the ends of the first 20 chapters. Whereas some are designed to facilitate information retention, the best problems stimulate thought and challenge the reader to think about experimental approaches for learning new things about cell biology….the MBoC5 package is a fantastic resource and well worth the upgrade."

-Development (Company of Biologists) 135, 3973-3974 (2008)

From The Critics
Reviewer: Alvin Telser, PhD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is the fourth edition of one of the major textbooks in modern cell and molecular biology. The previous edition was published in 1994.
Purpose: The book is intended to be a comprehensive, authoritative source of information about modern plant and animal cell and molecular biology. Given the interest in and importance of these aspects of modern science, this is an important textbook and fully attains the authors' objectives.
Audience: The authors state that the book is intended for advanced undergraduates who are taking a cell and molecular biology course as well as established scientists who may want a current source of information about areas outside their own expertise. The authors comment that groups of chapters, or even individual chapters, could be used as standalone resources in a variety of advanced topics courses. The six major authors of the book as well as the many authors of individual chapters are acknowledged authorities in their respective fields. The book was written by dozens of knowledgeable individuals and reviewed by hundreds of others, including many students.
Features: The book has chapters on essentially all the important areas of research and interest in cell and molecular biology:the genome, molecular biology, plasma membranes, signal transduction, the cytoskeleton, cell division, development and differentiation, stem cells, cancer, and more. A CD-ROM is included that contains many fascinating examples of cell behavior, e.g., video clips and animations. The book is extremely well written; most chapters begin with thought-provoking general comments about cells and how their behavior and/or activities are relevant to the contents of that particular chapter. The hundreds of schematic/explanatory diagrams and light and electron micrographs and the way they are integrated into the text are superb. Subsections within chapters have headings that clearly indicate the content that follows. Groups of subsections are summarized several times in each chapter to facilitate learning. If there are any shortcomings in this book, it is the effort to be too comprehensive by including sections on cancer, the adaptive immune system, and histology; these are entire disciplines in themselves and, although what this book includes is good, these chapters are too brief and selective to be as authoritative as most of the rest of the book.
Assessment: This is one of the two standard textbooks of cell and molecular biology; the other is Molecular Cell Biology, by Lodish, et al. (W. H. Freeman, 2000). This 4th edition will be warmly welcomed by college and university teachers, researchers and students alike. It maintains and improves upon the quality and excellence of previous editions.
**** A big, beautiful (now in color throughout), up-to-date survey of cell biology for the introductory university course. The text is divided into four sections: introduction to the cell; molecular genetics; internal organization of the cell; and cells in their social context. Previous editions were published in 1983 (cited in BCL3) and 1989. The present edition is fully reorganized to reflect major advances in signal transduction, intracellular protein sorting, gene regulation, control of cell division, and developmental biology. It also adds new chapters on recombinant DNA techniques and on proteins as machines. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

5 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815341116
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 1728
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 2.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Alberts received his PhD from Harvard University and is Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. For 12 years, he served as President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1993-2005).

Alexander Johnson received his PhD from Harvard University and is Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Director of the Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics, and Developmental Biology Graduate Program at the University of California, San Francisco.

Julian Lewis received his DPhil from the University of Oxford and is a Principal Scientist at the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK.

Martin Raff received his MD from McGill University and is at the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology and the Biology Department at University College London.

Keith Roberts received his PhD from the University of Cambridge and is Emeritus Fellow at the John Innes Centre, Norwich.

Peter Walter received his PhD from The Rockefeller University in New York and is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The Evolution of the Cell

All living creatures are made of cells-small membrane-bounded compartments filled with a concentrated aqueous solution of chemicals. The simplest forms of life are solitary cells that propagate by dividing in two. Higher organisms, such as ourselves, are like cellular cities in which groups of cells perform specialized functions and are linked by intricate systems of communication. Cells occupy a halfway point in the scale of biological complexity. We study them to learn, on the one hand, how they are made from molecules and, on the other, how they cooperate to make an organism as complex as a human being.

All organisms, and all of the cells that constitute them, are believed to have descended from a common ancestor cell through evolution by natural selection. This involves two essential processes: (1) the occurrence of random variation in the genetic information passed from an individual to its descendants and (2) selection in favor of genetic information that helps its possessors to survive and propagate. Evolution is the central principle of biology, helping us to make sense of the bewildering variety in the living world.

This chapter, like the book as a whole, is concerned with the progression from molecules to multicellular organisms. It discusses the evolution of the cell, first as a living unit constructed from smaller parts and then as a building block for larger structures. Through evolution, we introduce the cell components and activities that are to be treated in detail, in broadly similar sequence, in the chapters that follow. Beginning with the origins of the first cell on earth, we consider how the properties of certaintypes of large molecules allow hereditary information to be transmitted and expressed and permit evolution to occur. Enclosed in a membrane, these molecules provide the essentials of a self-replicating cell. Following this, we describe the major transition that occurred in the course of evolution, from small bacteriumlike cells to much larger and more complex cells such as are found in present-day plants and animals. Lastly, we suggest ways in which single free-living cells might have given rise to large multicellular organisms, becoming specialized and cooperating in the formation of such intricate organs as the brain.

Clearly, there are dangers in introducing the cell through its evolution: the large gaps in our knowledge can be filled only by speculations that are liable to be wrong in many details. We cannot go back in time to witness the unique molecular events that took place billions of years ago. But those ancient events have left many traces for us to analyze. Ancestral plants, animals, and even bacteria are preserved as fossils. Even more important, every modern organism provides evidence of the character of living organisms in the past. Present-day biological molecules, in particular, are a rich source of information about the course of evolution, revealing fundamental similarities between the most disparate of living organisms and allowing us to map out the differences between them on an objective universal scale. These molecular similarities and differences present us with a problem like that which confronts the literary scholar who seeks to establish the original text of an ancient author by comparing a mass of variant manuscripts that have been corrupted through repeated copying and editing. The task is hard, and the evidence is incomplete, but it is possible at least to make intelligent guesses about the major stages in the evolution of living cells.

From Molecules to the First Cell 1

Simple Biological Molecules Can Form Under Prebiotic Conditions 1, 1 The conditions that existed on the earth in its first billion years are still a matter of dispute. Was the surface initially molten? Did the atmosphere contain ammonia, or methane? Everyone seems to agree, however, that the earth was a violent place with volcanic eruptions, lightning, and torrential rains. There was little if any free oxygen and no layer of ozone to absorb the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The radiation, by its photochemical action, may have helped to keep the atmosphere rich in reactive molecules and far from chemical equilibrium. Simple organic molecules (that is, molecules containing carbon) are likely to have been produced under such conditions. The best evidence for this comes from laboratory experiments. If mixtures of gases such as COZ, CH4, NH3, and HZ are heated with water and energized by electrical discharge or by ultraviolet radiation, they react to form small organic molecules-usually a rather small selection, each made in large amounts (Figure 1-1). Among these products are compounds, such as hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and formaldehyde (HCHO), that readily undergo further reactions in aqueous solution (Figure 1-2). Most important, representatives of most of the major classes of small organic molecules found in cells are generated, including amino acids, sugars, and the purines and pyrimidines required to make nucleotides.

Although such experiments cannot reproduce the early conditions on the earth exactly, they make it plain that the formation of organic molecules is surprisingly easy. And the developing earth had immense advantages over any human experimenter; it was very large and could produce a wide spectrum of conditions. But above all, it had much more time-tens to hundreds of millions of years. In such circumstances it seems very likely that, at some time and place, many of the simple organic molecules found in present-day cells accumulated in high concentrations.

Complex Chemical Systems Can Develop in an Environment That Is Far from Chemical Equilibrium Simple organic molecules such as amino acids and nucleotides can associate to form polymers. One amino acid can join with another by forming a peptide bond, and two nucleotides can join together by a phosphodiester bond. The repetition of these reactions leads to linear polymers known as polypeptides and polynucleotides, respectively. In present-day living cells, large polyp eptides-known as proteins-and polynucleotides-in the form of both ribonucleic acids (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA)-are commonly viewed as the most important constituents. A restricted set of 20 amino acids constitute the universal building blocks of the proteins, while RNA and DNA molecules are constructed from just four types of nucleotides each. Although it is uncertain why these particular sets of monomers were selected for biosynthesis in preference to others that are chemically similar, we shall see that the chemical properties of the corresponding polymers suit them especially well for their specific roles in the cell.

The earliest polymers may have formed in any of several ways-for example, by the heating of dry organic compounds or by the catalytic activity of high concentrations of inorganic polyphosphates or other crude mineral catalysts. Under laboratory conditions the products of similar reactions are polymers of variable length and random sequence in which the particular amino acid or nucleotide added at any point depends mainly on chance (Figure 1-3). Once a polymer has formed, however, it can itself influence subsequent chemical reactions by acting as a catalyst.

The origin of life requires that in an assortment of such molecules there must have been some possessing, if only to a small extent, a crucial property: the ability to catalyze reactions that lead, directly or indirectly, to production of more molecules of the catalyst itself. Production of catalysts with this special self-promoting property would be favored, and the molecules most efficient in aiding their own production would divert raw materials from the production of other substances. In this way one can envisage the gradual development of an increasingly complex chemical system of organic monomers and polymers that function together to generate more molecules of the same types, fueled by a supply of simple raw materials in the environment. Such an autocatalytic system would have some of the properties we think of as characteristic of living matter: it would comprise a far from random selection of interacting molecules; it would tend to reproduce itself; it would compete with other systems dependent on the same feedstocks; and if deprived of its feedstocks or maintained at a wrong temperature that upsets the balance of reaction rates, it would decay toward chemical equilibrium and "die." But what molecules could have had such autocatalytic properties? In presentday living cells the most versatile catalysts are polypeptides, composed of many diff,prent amino acids with chemically diverse side chains and, consequently, able to adopt diverse three-dimensional forms that bristle with reactive sites. But although polypeptides are versatile as catalysts, there is no known way in which one such molecule can reproduce itself by directly specifying the formation of another of precisely the same sequence.

Polynucleotides Are Capable of Directing Their Own Synthesis 3

Polynucleotides have properties that contrast with those of polypeptides. They have more limited capabilities as catalysts, but they can directly guide the formation of exact copies of their own sequence...

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Table of Contents

PART I INTRODUCTION TO THE CELL 1. Cells and Genomes 2. Cell Chemistry and Biosynthesis 3. Proteins PART II BASIC GENETIC MECHANISMS 4. DNA, Chromosomes, and Genomes 5. DNA Replication, Repair, and Recombination 6. How Cells Read the Genome: From DNA to Protein 7. Control of Gene Expression PART III METHODS 8. Manipulating Proteins, DNA, and RNA 9. Visualizing Cells PART IV INTERNAL ORGANIZATION OF THE CELL 10. Membrane Structure 11. Membrane Transport of Small Molecules and the Electrical Properties of Membranes 12. Intracellular Compartments and Protein Sorting 13. Intracellular Vesicular Traffic 14. Energy Conversion: Mitochondria and Chloroplasts 15. Mechanisms of Cell Communication 16. The Cytoskeleton 17. The Cell Cycle 18. Apoptosis PART V CELLS IN THEIR SOCIAL CONTEXT 19. Cell Junctions, Cell Adhesion, and the Extracellular Matrix 20. Cancer 21. Sexual Reproduction: Meiosis, Germ Cells, and Fertilization 22. Development of Multicellular Organisms 23. Specialized Tissues, Stem Cells, and Tissue Renewal 24. Pathogens, Infection, and Innate Immunity 25. The Adaptive Immune System

* There is also a student textbook version of Molecular Biology of the Cell, Fifth Edition (ISBN 978-0-8153-4105-5) that contains Chapters 1-20 in printed format, and Chapters 21-25 only in pdf format on the accompanying DVD-ROM.

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