Learning outcomes of the course unit
The student is asked to understand and learn the content of the course. Attendance to lessons, which is mandatory, will allow the student to acquire skills appropriate to describe, communicate effectively, use independence of judgment and comment features, functions, structure and the metabolic role of the main bio-molecules (proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes and co-enzymes, water and fat soluble vitamins); the mechanisms of metabolic energy production, energetic and structural homeostasis of living cells; structure and function of eukaryotic genes, replication of DNA, gene expression, DNA repair; the main metabolic pathways and their regulation; structure and functions of hormones, endocrine regulation of the metabolism; metabolic and biochemical correlations between organs and tissues under normal and pathological conditions; the molecular basis of human diseases; research approaches to molecular medicine and translational research.
Before taking the exam of "Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare" students have to pass:
1) Chimica e propedeutica Biochimica
Course contents summary
The course provides basic knowledge on the molecular aspects of the transmission of genetic information. The course initially introduces the basics of the concept of inheritance, and then introduces nucleic acids as molecules able to ensure the transmission of the genetic information through DNA replication, RNA transcription and proteins translation. Then will be introduced the concepts of DNA damage/mutation and the impact of DNA mutation on human health. Finally the course will provide the basis for the knowledge of the main techniques used for DNA/RNA manipulation, and their application in various fields of research, diagnosis, and treatment of human diseases.
From Darwin to Mendel to the discovery of the transforming principle: bases of the transmission of genetic information.
Nucleic acids: composition and structure.
3D structure of DNA, DNA topology: coiling and supercoiling.
Histones, chromatin, chromosomes.
Basics of epigenetic modifications of DNA and histones.
DNA replication: characteristics of DNA polymerases, replication mechanism.
Drugs that interfere with the replication process.
Replication forks, replisome assembly, replication coupling mechanisms.
Origin of replication, mechanism of origins control in eukaryotes.
Termination of replication.
The ends of linear chromosomes: telomerase.
DNA damage and mutations.
Mechanisms of damage repair: direct, indirect, double-strand break repair mechanisms.
RNA transcription in eukaryotes: characteristics of RNA polymerases, formation of the initiation complex, elongation, termination of transcription.
Characteristics of prokaryotic and eukaryotic promoters.
Regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes.
RNA maturation: capping, splicing, tailing, editing.
Notes on RNA interference.
From RNA to proteins: mechanisms and enzymes of messenger RNA translation. The genetic code.
Translation of messenger mRNA: molecules and enzymes involved.
t-RNA, ribosomes, aminoacyl-tRNAsynthetase
Stages of translation: initiation, elongation, termination.
Drugs that interfere with the protein translation process.
JD Watson et al.: Biologia Molecolare del gene. Zanichelli, Bologna.
G. Capranico, E. Martegani, G. Musci, G. Raugei, T. Russo, N. Zambrano, V. Zappavigna. Edises
Lectures will be held on-site in compliance with safety standards, provided that further instructions on the ongoing health emergency are not implemented.
Lectures will be supported by slide presentations, animations, and various web resources which will be available to students on Elly platform.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam consists in a written test with closed answers, made of 30 multiple choice questions, ten of which concerning Molecular Biology topics. Time allowed for the test is 60 minutes; in the first 20 minutes the students are allowed to quit, returning the test to the commission. Each positive answer contributes with 1 point to the final grade (0-30/30). There is no penalty for incorrect answers. In case of a positive result, you can choose whether to proceed with the recording of the grade or to take an oral exam.
In case of the persistence of the health emergency, the exams will be conducted remotely, by means of a structured written test (by Teams and/or Elly). The test consists of 6 open-ended questions on all the course contents (reference texts + documents uploaded to Elly during the course).
Students with SLD / BSE must first contact Le Eli-che: support for students with disabilities, D.S.A., B.E.S. (https://sea.unipr.it/it/servizi/le-eli-che-supporto-studenti-con-disabil...).