Module 404 - Nerve muscle & movement


In Jan 2011, the 404 exam will have approximately 8 short answer Questions to a total of 70 marks, and the other 30 marks will accrue from the practical writeup. Last year's exam is on the Biology web site - also with answers .

Practical writeup: Students are asked to write up 1 of the 4 session. This will account for 30 marks. Please note the following instructions:

The report must be word-processed and all graphs etc. drawn using graphical packages.Make sure that you address the questions posed in the schedule: but do so in flowing text [and not in bulleted text or Q and A format].

Your submission must carry your examination number and not your name. The Deadline is on Monday 13 December.

Suggested Reading
Ralph J. Greenspan (2007) An Introduction to Nervous Systems (Paperback)
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, USA ISBN-13: 978-0879698218

online at
or for sale at

Lectures links to the 2009 versions - these will be updated during term

Cellular neuroscience
: the way in which the individual nerves of a nervous system work:
nerve conduction, synaptic transmission and sensory transduction, how synapses are
constructed, including how genes control the assembly and plasticity of the nervous system.
These aspects lead to the third year module Cellular and Molecular neuroscience.
Lecture 1 GE Action potential
Lecture 2 GE Synapses
Lecture 3 GE Cellular neuroscience of synapses
Lecture 8 CJHE Actions of insecticides on the nervous system; selectivity for insects
over mammals; resistance mechanisms

Muscle: how muscle fibres generate force and movement. The concept of myosin being a
prototype molecular motor.
Lecture 4 JCS Muscle types, structure, activation and energy use
Lecture 5 JCS Mechanism of Muscle contraction
Lecture 6 JCS Control of Muscle Contraction
Lecture 7 JCS Unconventional myosins and cell biology

Neural control of Movement and behaviour: How animals move. The role of reflexes in
the musculo-skeletal system. Central control and modulation of rhythmic patterns. The role
of sense organs in the selection of behaviour. Evolution of behaviour.
Lecture 9 CJHE Movement on land - Clione video (at UC Caliornia)
Lecture 10 CJHE Jumping, flying, swimming.
Lecture 11 CJHE Evolution of behaviour; from ethology to neuroethology.
Lecture 12 STS Sensory control of behaviour.

Growth and plasticity in the nervous system
Lecture 13 STS Axon guidance and synaptic development
Lecture 14 STS Simple correlates of learning and memory

Lecture 15 CJHE Integration – from action potential and synapse via neuromodulation
and sensory input to evolution.
- also fly jump movie

Practicals: The lectures will be supported by 4 practicals, each lasting 3 hour. An overview of the practicals is available, along with time to attend. The practicals are:
1. Simulation of action potential
2. Sensory control of Drosophila behaviour
3. Locust jumping - 2010 Results and initial analysis
4. Locust breathing
These will be run on a circus system. Assessment is by a write up: you which choose one! An online copy of the handout is available here.

page last updated by Chris Elliott on 15 Nov 10