Learning outcomes of the course unit
Biochemistry is the science that deals 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 will provide students with fundamental concepts regarding: the relationship between structure and function in biological macromolecules, including globular and fibrous proteins, transport 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 Biochemistry exam should be preceded by the Organic Chemistry exam.
Course contents summary
Amino acids: structure, classification and properties. Peptide bond. Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins. `Folding’ and 'unfolding' (denaturation) of proteins. Hemoglobin and myoglobin: structure and function. Antibodies: structure and function. Structural proteins: collagen. Enzymes: overview of the mechanism of action of enzymes and enzyme kinetics. Determination and meaning of kcat and Km. Allosteric regulation of proteins/enzymes.
Lipids: classification and properties. Lipids as structural components of membranes: glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids and cholesterol. Lipids that represent an energy reserve. Overview of lipids with special functions. Overview of mechanisms of active and passive transport of solutes through biological membranes.
Overview of Bioenergetics. “High energy” compounds. ÄG of individual exoergonic and endoergonic metabolism reactions. Exoergonic and endoergonic metabolic sequences.
Glucidic metabolism. Glycolysis. Pentose cycle (pentose-phosphate pathway). Alcoholic and lactic acid fermentation. Glycogenolysis and glycogenosynthesis. Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Krebs (tricarboxylic acid) cycle. Anaplerotic reactions: pyruvate carboxylase. Gluconeogenesis.
Metabolism of lipids. Fatty acid beta-oxydation. Ketonic bodies and ketogenesis. Citrate transport system. Synthesis of saturated fatty acids. Glyoxylate cycle. Correlation between glucidic and lipid metabolism.
Overview of amino acid metabolism. Role and mechanism of transaminase action. Degradation of amino acids. Correlation of amino acid metabolism with glucidic and lipid metabolism.
Respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation.
Overview of the preservation, expression and transmission of genic information. DNA as repository of gene information. DNA replication and transcription. Diversification of the function and role of ribosomal, transport and messenger RNA (r-RNA, t-RNA, m-RNA). The genetic code. Protein synthesis: translation.
HORTON, MORAN, SCRIGEOUR, PERRY e RAWN: "Principi di Biochimica" - Pearson Paravia Bruno Mondadori S.p.A.
MATHEWS, VAN HOLDE e AHREN: "Biochimica" - Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
VOET D., VOET J.G. e PRATT C.W.: "Fondamenti di Biochimica" - Zanichelli Editore
NELSON D. e COX M.M.: "I Principi di Biochimica di Lehninger" - Zanichelli Editore
Classroom lectures with the use of multimedia equipment.
Final oral exam.