Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Sci. Signal., 16 April 2013
Vol. 6, Issue 271, p. tr2
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003535]


p53 as Batman: Using a Movie Plot to Understand Control of the Cell Cycle

Nikhita Gadi, Sage E. Foley, Mark Nowey, and George E. Plopper*

Department of Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA.

Abstract: This Teaching Resource provides and describes a two-part classroom exercise to help students understand control of the cell cycle, with a focus on the transcription factor p53, the E3 ubiquitin ligase Mdm2, the Mdm2 inhibitor ARF, the kinases ATM and ATR, the kinase Chk2, and the cell cycle inhibitor p21Cip1. Students use characters and scenes from the movie The Dark Knight to represent elements of the cell cycle control machinery, then they apply these characters and scenes to translate a primary research article on p53 function into a new movie scene in the "Batman universe." This exercise is appropriate for college-level courses in cell biology and cancer biology and requires students to have a background in introductory cell biology. Explicit learning outcomes and associated assessment methods are provided, as well as slides, student assignments, the primary research article, and an instructor’s guide for the exercise.

* Corresponding author. E-mail: ploppg{at}

Citation: N. Gadi, S. E. Foley, M. Nowey, G. E. Plopper, p53 as Batman: Using a Movie Plot to Understand Control of the Cell Cycle. Sci. Signal. 6, tr2 (2013).

Read the Full Text

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882