Biochemistry and Cell Signaling Pathway of the Mc1r Gene
This activity supports concepts presented in the short film Natural Selection and Adaptation about the evolution of different fur colors among rock pocket mouse populations. The activity challenges students to analyze partial DNA sequences of the Mc1r gene to identify the effects of mutations on the MC1R protein pathway.
Students will use amino acid sequences from the rock pocket mouse genome to illustrate the different levels of protein structure and the relationship between a protein’s structure and function. In addition, students analyze the MC1R signaling pathway in both light- and dark-colored rock pocket mouse populations. Through their analysis, students will come to understand concepts about cell signaling. Finally, students hypothesize how the change in sequence, and thus protein function, might directly affect the coat-color cell signaling pathway of the rock pocket mouse populations.
Student Learning Targets
Use an amino acid class chart to determine whether an amino acid in a protein sequence is nonpolar, polar, acidic, or basic.
Analyze amino acid data to hypothesize how changes in the sequence of the MC1R protein domains might affect the function of the protein.
Analyze amino acid data to hypothesize how the change in sequence and thus protein function might affect the coat color of rock pocket mouse populations.
basic, cell signaling, coat color, extracellular, G-protein, hydrophilic, intracellular, membrane, melanocortin 1, missense, mutation, natural selection, nonpolar, nonsense, polar, receptor, signaling pathway
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1; SEP2
3.A.1, 3.D.1, 3.D.3, 4.A.1, 4.B.1; SP1, SP7
1.3, 2.4, 3.1, 7.3
CC2, CC3; DP3