Learning outcomes of the course unit
The first section objective is knowledge and understanding of chemical properties of the principal molecules of biological interest. In the second section the objective becomes the knowledge of structural, functional and relational features of biomolecules. These skills will be functional for understanding the fundamentals of enzymology and metabolic processes.
The course of Biochemistry is part of the integrated course of Biosciences. 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 be able to apply the knowledge gained in carrying out its training activities.
Conoscenza dei seguenti argomenti:
La costituzione della materia, elementi e composti. Le particelle fondamentali dell’atomo. Numero atomico e numero di massa. Peso atomico e peso molecolare. Isotopi. Ioni: cationi ed anioni.
La tavola periodica e la configurazione elettronica degli elementi di interesse biologico.
Elettronegatività e legame chimico: legame ionico e legame covalente. Polarità delle molecole. Valenza e numero di ossidazione.
Fondamenti di chimica inorganica: formule e nomi dei composti inorganici più comuni.
Il principio di conservazione della massa e della carica: bilanciamento di semplici reazioni chimiche (salificazione e ossido-riduzione). Concetto di mole, conversione da grammi a moli e viceversa, calcoli stechiometrici elementari. Le soluzioni: che cosa è una soluzione; principali modi di esprimere la concentrazione delle soluzioni.
Course contents summary
After a brief introduction to the basic principles of Organic Chemistry, the main molecules of biological systems will be presented: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids, and ATP as energy transporter (Structural Biochemistry).
In the second section main subject will be Metabolic Biochemistry with particular emphasis on bioenergetics, red-ox biological reactions, and cell metabolism.
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.
A) Organic chemistry foundations.
B) STRUCTURAL BIOCHEMISTRY
Nucleotides and nucleic acids. Nucleotides chemistry and nucleic acids structures. Biological role of DNA, tRNAs, mRNA, and ribosomal RNA.
Aminoacids, peptides and proteins. Amino Acids classification; the peptide bond. The covalent structure of proteins: overview of protein structure. Protein folding and protein functions.
Hemoglobin: structure and function. Oxygen binding and transport at the molecular level. Factors affecting oxygen affinity.
How Enzymes Work. Classification of enzymes.
Lipids. Classification, structure and functions of fatty acids, triglycerides and cholesterol. Structural lipids in membranes.
Carbohydrates. Structure and classification of monosaccharides and disaccharides and polysaccharides.
C) METABOLIC BIOCHEMISTRY
Free Energy and spontaneous reactions. Thermodynamics of biological reactions, ATP as energy carrier.
Cellular metabolism. Oxidation and degradation reactions, biosynthetic reactions.
Mitochondrial reactions. Coenzymes and biological redox reactions. Electron-transfer reactions in mitochondria: components and functions. ATP synthesis. Regulation of Oxidative Phosphorylation.
Glycolysis, Gluconeogenesis, Glycogen metabolism, The Citric Acid Cycle.
Fatty acids and aminoacidic metabolism.
Hormonal regulation and integration of metabolism. Insulin and glucagon. Liver, muscle and brain metabolism.
- 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.
Supplementary material, assembled by the teacher, can be found on Elly course platform.
Chemistry and Biochemistry
M. Samaja - R. Paroni
Introduction to Biochemistry of Lehninger
David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox
Frontal lessons will be aided by presentations and videos, valuing the molecular approach and the overview of metabolism; interactive web sites will be used when possible.
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 oral test will deal with Structural and General Biochemistry; knowledge of enzymatic catalysis, bioenergetics and integration of metabolism will improve the grade.
The assessment of the achievement of the objectives of the course consists of a written examination on the whole program of the course (Biochemistry, Biology and Morphology and Developmental Genetics) 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