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.
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.
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.
Supplementary material, assembled by the teacher, can be found on Elly course platform.
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.
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.