Learning outcomes of the course unit
Biochemistry is the science dealing with the molecular basis of life. Biochemistry deals with composition, structure and function of molecules typical of living organisms and with the chemical reactions that occur in these organisms. The course aims to make students able to understand fundamental concepts regarding: the relationship between structure and function in biological macromolecules, including globular and fibrous proteins, antibodies, enzymes and nucleic acids; metabolic transformations of nutrients; bioenergetics; properties of biological membranes; primary mechanisms of preservation, transmission and translation into protein of the information contained in genes. The aim is also to provide the tools for students to be able to analyze and solve autonomously simple biochemistry issues.
To deal with the topics of the “Biochemistry” course, students should possess a basic knowledge of Chemistry and Organic Chemistry.
Course contents summary
Introduction to Biochemistry.
Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins.
Structure and function of: antibodies, structural proteins, transport proteins, and proteins involved in muscle contraction.
Enzymes for food applications
Overview of sugar and lipid structure and classification.
Introduction to metabolism and to Bioenergetics.
Absorption and degradation of sugars, triglycerides and proteins.
Anaerobic metabolism of sugars.
Metabolism of glycogen. Gluconeogenesis.
Ketonic bodies and ketogenesis.
Biosynthesis of fatty acids.
Overview of amino acid metabolism. Degradation of amino acids.
Respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation
Structure and function af nucleic acid.
Introduction to biochemistry. Biological molecules and the role of water.
Structure and physical-chemical characteristics of amino acids.
Characteristics of the peptide bond and angles of rotation.
Primary structure of proteins.
Secondary structures of proteins: alpha and beta structures..
Tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins. Structural motifs and domains.
Protein folding process: thermodynamic bases and chaperonin activity.
Protein denaturation: reversible and irreversible processes. Denaturing agents.
Prion proteins as an example of tertiary structure modification.
Function, structure and analytical use of antibodies.
Structural proteins: function and structure of keratin and collagen.
Mechanism of muscle contraction: actin, myosin, the role of calcium and the phenomenon of rigor mortis.
Structure and function of myoglobin and hemoglobin.
Mechanism of action of enzymes and principles of enzymatic kinetics. Enzymes of food interest.
Overview of structure and classification of lipids and carbohydrates.
Metabolism, fundamental concepts of bioenergetics, anabolism and catabolism.
Sugar absorption and metabolism: absorption of polysaccharides and monosaccharides, entry into the cell and glycolysis.
Anaerobic metabolism of sugars: alcoholic and lactic fermentation.
Characteristics and regulation of the cycle of tricarboxylic acids (from Krebs) and anaplerotic reactions.
Glycogen metabolism: glycogen lysis and glycogen synthesis.
Absorption and transport of triglycerides and cholesterol. Oxidative degradation of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids with even and odd number of carbons by beta-oxidation.
Ketonic bodies and ketogenesis.
Fatty acid biosynthesis.
General information on the metabolism of amino acids. Role and mechanism of action of transaminases. Main steps of amino acid degradation.
Respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation.
Correlations with glucidic and lipid metabolism.
General information on conservation, expression and transmission of genetic information. DNA as a repository of genetic information. DNA replication and transcription. Diversification of the function and role of ribosomal, transport and messenger RNAs (r-RNA, t-RNA, m-RNA). The genetic code. Protein synthesis: mechanism of translation process.
Lehninger principles of biochemistry
Biochemistry: Concepts and Connections
Dean R. Appling, Spencer J. Anthony-Cahill
Christopher K. Mathews
Oral lessons, with the use of multimedia means.
Assessment methods and criteria
Written and oral exams.
The written exam includes multiple choise quiz and open answer questions.