Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course of Biochemistry is part of the integrated course Fundamentals of Biomolecular Systems. The course aims to enable the student to know and understand the electronic structure of the atom and molecules, both inorganic and organic. Particular attention is paid to macromolecules of biological interest. The student will understand:
1) the structure of the molecules
2) how the molecules react and the fundamental role of water in defining the reactivity.
3) the functions of the molecules that make up the cell, seen as basic unit of living matter,
4) some fundamental aspects of cellular metabolism.
The student, at the end of the course, will have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding about the name and the corresponding chemical formula of substances, to be able to discuss the properties of macromolecules of biological interest as well as their functional role in the cell. Must be able to recognize the functional groups of the molecules responsible for their reactivity.
He must acquire an overview of cellular metabolic processes and their connection with the production and consumption of energy. He must perceive the connections between chemistry and biology.
The student will have to be able to apply the knowledge gained in carrying out its training activities.
The course has as its formative objective to provide a basic knowledge in general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry, to enable the students to understand the chemical bases of life, the structural and functional principles of molecules of biological interest; the metabolic pathways, their connexions and regulations.
The constitution of matter, elements and compounds. The fundamental particles of the atom. Atomic number and mass number. Atomic weight and molecular weight. Isotopes. Ions: cations and anions.
The periodic table and the electronic configuration of the elements of biological interest.
Electronegativity and chemical bonding: ionic and covalent bonding. Polarity of the molecules. Valence and oxidation number.
Fundamentals of inorganic chemistry: formulas and names of the most common inorganic compounds.
The principle of conservation of mass and charge: Balance of simple chemical reactions (oxidation-reduction and salting). Mole concept, conversion from grams to moles and vice versa, stoichiometry elementary. The solutions: what is a solution, the main ways of expressing the concentration of solutions.
Course contents summary
The first part of the course will serve: a) to assess the level of knowledge of the prerequisites concepts; b) to give a general overview of the topics that will be covered and the logical thread in which they will be presented.
In the second part we will discuss topics that relate to understanding the origin of the three-dimensional structure and reactivity of molecules. Special attention will be devoted to acid-base and redox reactions
The third part will deal with the structural and chemical properties of major macromolecules present in a cell and then discuss some of the main metabolic processes responsible for the production of energy needed to keep the cell alive.
Prerequisites of general inorganic chemistry.
Organic chemistry: functional groups and their reactivity.
Macromolecules: amminoacids and proteins; carbohydrates; lipids.
- Water: chemical and physical properties of water. Water as a solvent: Weak interactions in aqueous systems. Dipoles and interactions between different molecules. The hydrogen bonding. Osmosis. Ionization of water. Acids, and bases. The pH. The buffer solutions and their function / biological significance.
- Chemistry of carbon. Hydrocarbons and functional groups relevant to biochemistry. Structural formulas of organic molecules and nomenclature. The isomerism of organic molecules. Notes on homocyclic and heterocyclic compounds and aromatic compounds.
- Reactions of functional groups relevant to biochemistry.
- Biological macromolecules:
1) Amino acids, peptide bond, and proteins. Notes on the three-dimensional structure of proteins. Structure-function relationships: myoglobin and hemoglobin. Enzymes, elements of coenzymes and cofactors.
2) simple and complex carbohydrates.
3) Lipids: triglycerides and phospholipids.
- Cellular Metabolism
1)ATP as energy exchanger.
2)Cellular respiration and metabolism of carbohydrates.
3)Notes on the metabolism of triglycerides and amino acids.
i) Chemistry prerequisites:
-Elements and compounds. Composition of the atom: protons, neutrons, and electrons. Atomic number and mass number. Isotopes. Ions: cations and anions.
-The periodic table and the electron configuration for elements with biological interest.
-Electronegativity and chemical bonding. Ionic bonding and covalent bonding. Pure covalent bond and polarized covalent bond. Polar molecules. Valence and oxidation number.
-Fundamentals of inorganic chemistry: naming and writing formulas of simple common compounds
(oxides, acids, salts..)
-Aqueous solutions. Concentration units : molarity and percent fraction.
-Water : chemical and physical properties. Water as a solvent: weak interactions in aqueous solutions. Dipole-dipole intermolecular interactions, hydrogen bonding and Van der Waals bond.
Osmosis. Water ionization. Acids and bases. pH. Buffer solutions and their biological significance.
Iintroduction. Hydrocarbons and functional groups with biological interest. Naming and writing formulas of simple organic compounds. Isomerism.
Types of reactions in biochemistry.
Structure and function of macromolecules:
a)amminoacids as structural units of proteins. Peptidic bond and protein structure. Structure-function relationship: mioglobin and hemoglobin. Enzymes, coenzymes and cofactors.
b) Carbohydrates: monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.
c) Lipids: fatty acids, tryglicerides and phospholipids.
Introduction to metabolism. Catabolism. Anabolism. General aspects of metabolism regulation.
Energy production and energy storage in the living cell. Some basic principles of bioenergetics. High-energy compounds. ATP.
Cellular respiration and carbohydrates metabolism.
The fatty acid beta-oxidation.
Chemistry and Biochemistry
M. Samaja - R. Paroni
Introduction to Biochemistry of Lehninger
David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox
"CHIMICA E BIOCHIMICA per le lauree triennali dell'area biomedica".Ed. Piccin Nuova Libraria s.p.a. Padova.
The course will be conducted on the basis of lectures during which after having exposed some general concepts will go on to describe their first applications in chemical systems model and then as part of the life processes of a cell.
The classes will be divided into three parts. A brief introduction to resume the arguments put forward in the previous lesson (10 '), a space for questions about the arguments (10') and 30 'to present new arguments.
Assessment methods and criteria
The assessment of the achievement of the objectives of the course consists of a written examination on the whole program of the course (Biology and Biochemistry) followed, if you get enough in both modules of the course, by an oral examination.
The oral examination consists of questions: a) regarding any errors in the written test, b) contents of the course are not mentioned in the written test. Overall, particular attention will be paid to ascertain whether the student has achieved the goal of knowledge and understanding of the content.
As required by law and by the academic regulations, it is not possible to carry out the examination in two parts and acquire loans of a part of the exam.
Board of Examiners: Spisni Alberto, Parmigiani Stefano Casali Emanuela
Substitute: Pertinhez Thelma, Troglio Maria Giovanna, Elena Ferrari
Written tests and oral examination