Learning outcomes of the course unit
- To know the properties of elementary substances, organic compounds, and especially of the macromolecules of biological interest;
- to know the structural and functional features of most relevant metabolites;
- to know and understand the major metabolic pathways, the fundamentals of enzymatic regulation and of the integration of metabolic processes.
Course contents summary
The basic principles of Chemistry are introduced in the first part of the course, i.e. the atomic theory, chemical bonding and molecular interactions. This section terminates with the description of the molecules of biological systems: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleotides and nucleic acids. In the second part the main subject is General Biochemistry, with a particular emphasis on enzyme catalysis, coenzymes, bioenergetics, ATP as an energy transporter and biological oxidations. Finally, the last section deals with the major metabolic pathways, evaluating energy balances, allosteric and hormonal regulations.
GENERAL AND ORGANIC CHEMISTRY, PROPEDEUTIC BIOCHEMISTRY
Chemistry foundations: atomic structure, energy levels, valence electrons and Lewis structure.
Chemical bonding: pure and polar covalent bond. Electronegativity. Hydrogen bond, water as a polar solvent. Van der Waals interactions.
Foundations of Organic Chemistry: most important functional groups.
Molecules of biological systems. Carbohydrates: monosaccharides, oligosaccharides and omopolysaccharides. Lipids: fatty acids, lipids, complex lipids and steroids. Proteins: aminoacids and peptide bond. Nucleic Acids: nucleotides and phosphodiesteric bond.
Overview of protein structure. Protein Function: heme group and Oxygen-binding proteins. Cooperativity and allosteric regulation of hemoglobin.
An introduction to enzymes. How enzymes work; coenzymes and vitamins. Regulatory enzymes.
Bioenergetics and thermodynamics. Coupled reactions. Metabolism and biological redox reactions. Oxidative phosphorylation: electron-transfer reactions in mitochondria. ATP synthesis and regulation of oxidative phosphorylation.
Fundamentals of hormonal regulation of metabolism.
Glycolysis, reactions and regulation. Gluconeogenesis, substrates and regulation. The pentose phosphate pathway in brief.
Fates of pyruvate under anaerobic and aerobic conditions. Production of Acetyl-CoA.
The metabolism of Glycogen. Reactions and coordinated regulation of glycogen synthesis and breakdown.
The Citric Acid Cycle: reactions and regulation.
Lipid Metabolism: digestion, mobilization and transport of fats. Oxidation of fatty acids. Ketone bodies. Biosynthesis of fatty acids: reactions and regulation in brief.
Amminoacid degradation and production of urea. Ketogenic and gluconeogenic amminoacids.
La chimica in moduli (A-H),
di Valitutti, Tifi, Gentile
I principi di Biochimica di Lehninger
Introduzione alla biochimica di Lehninger
David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox
Supplementary material, assembled by the teacher, can be found at http://elly.medicina.unipr.it/
Frontal lessons will be aided by presentations and videos, promoting the molecular approach and the overview of metabolism; interactive web sites will be used when possible.
Learning material will be loaded weekly on Elly platform.
Assessment methods and criteria
Ongoing evaluations will be realized by means of on-line tests, presented on Elly platform. An oral examination will produce the final grade: knowledge of general biochemistry principles and comprehension of the major metabolic pathways, in fasting and in the fed state, will be evaluated.