Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to provide the student with knwoledge about:
1 - the fundamental properties of biological molecole and macromolecules
2 - the processes of degradation and biosynthesis of the main classes of biomolecules, and of the mechanisms of the regulation of the metabolism.
Particular attention will be given to topics related to the field of veterinary medicine.
The course is divided into three modules whose specific objectives are reported below.
BIOCHIMISTRY 1: The module of Biochemistry 1 is part of the integrated ‘Veterinary Biochemistry’ course. The main objective of the course is to provide the student with the fundamentals of basic biochemistry, starting from the study of biomolecules. The course first examines the simplest biological compounds, such as carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids, before moving to macromolecular structures and in particular proteins, which are studied through their structure/function relationship. Folding and misfolding are aspects that are highlighted, as they have relevance to understand several degenerative diseases in the field of Veterinary Medicine (prion diseases and amyloidosis). In order to present to the students the great heterogeneity and complexity that characterizes the chemistry of living organisms, the study of polypeptides is focused on the following four categories of proteins: fibrous proteins (keratin, collagen, fibroin), carrier proteins (myoglobin and hemoglobin), membrane proteins and enzymes. Particular emphasis is given to the study of enzymatic catalysis, which represents the basis of metabolism, that will be the main subject of the Biochemistry 2 module.
BIOCHEMISTRY 2: The module of Biochemistry is part of the integrated course of ‘Veterinary Biochemistry’. The main objective of the course is to provide the student with the fundamental elements for understanding the metabolism in an integrated view. The metabolism is introduced through the concept of 'bioenergetics' combined with the study of the categories of chemical reactions that take place inside the cell. This introduction is followed by the study of the single metabolic pathways as well as of their regulation mechanisms, both in the catabolic and anabolic sense: glucose catabolism (glycolysis, fermentation, glucose oxidation), glycogen metabolism, gluconeogenesis, citric acid cycle and related reactions, respiratory chain, oxidative phosphorylation, lipid metabolism (oxidation of fatty acids, ketone bodies, biosynthesis of fatty acids, lipoproteins and cholesterol), metabolism of amino acids (transamination reactions, urea cycle, biosynthesis of some amino acids) and notes on the metabolism of nucleotides. The course is completed with an integrated study of the individual metabolic pathways that are presented as related through the activity of substances with hormonal activity, both in physiological situations (fasting, abundance of energy sources) and pathological (diabetes).
APPLIED BIOCHEMISTRY: Applied Biochemistry is part of the main course Veterinary Biochemistry. The primary objective of the course is to provide the students with the fundamentals of molecular biology and cellular biology, focusing on the basic concepts and applications related to veterinary medicine. A main topic of the course will be the study of the molecular mechanisms that rule the flow of the genetic information and its regulation, both in the physiological and pathological state of the organism. Furthermore, in the course, the basis of DNA manipulation and the essential diagnostic techniques related to DNA analysis will be illustrated. Finally, the basis of animal cloning and transgenesis will be discussed.
It is required the exam of 'Chimica propedeutica biochimica'
Course contents summary
Properties of biomolecules: carbohydrates, lipids, aminoacids and proteins. Biological membranes. Structure and function of proteins. Enzyme catalysis and kinetics.
Introduction to the metabolism: coenzymes, high energy bonds, redox potentials. Catabolism of glucose. Metabolism of glycogen. Gluconeogenesis. Tricarboxilic acids cicle and related rections. Electron transport, oxidative phosphorilation and respiratory control. Photosynthesis. Lipid metabolism: Fatty acids oxidation, keton bodies, fatty acids biosynthesi, cholesterol. Metabolim of aminoacids: transamination reactions, urea cycle, PLP-dependent reactions. Nucleotides metabolism: ex-novo purines and pyrimidine biosinthesis. Ruminal fermentations.
The flow of the genetic information: Nucleic acids: DNA and RNA. Genes, chromosomes and chromatin. Duplication and maintenance of genomic DNA. DNA transcription in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Regulation of gene expression in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Protein synthesis. The cell cycle.
Fundamentals of molecular biology: recombinant DNA and gene cloning. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR and RT-PCR), Southern and Northern blotting
Applications of the molecular diagnostics and of the recombinant biotechnologies to the diagnosis and prevention of diseases.
Nelson, D.L. e Cox, M.M. 'I principi di Biochimica di Lehninger', settima edizione, 2018, Zanichelli
Oral lessons and laboratory
Assessment methods and criteria
The verification of the achievement of the objectives foresees a single exam concerning the three modules of “Biochemistry 1”, “Applied Biochemistry ” and “Biochemistry 2”.
The exam is an oral discussion, where the student must answer to three questions (one for each module) demonstrating good understanding and ability to describe and integrate the topics covered by the course. The capacity for expression through a terminology appropriate to the subject is considered essential.
Students with a diagnosis of specific learning disorders (DSA), certified according to the law n. 170/2010 will be granted the benefits provided by law.