Learning outcomes of the course unit
The objective of the course is to provide the students with:
-the fundamental concepts of chemistry,including stoichiometry; a necessity to prepare
laboratory media and for the comprehension of analytical techniques;
- the basic knowledge of structure and function of the biological macromolecules.
Moreover,the students,starting from the knowledge of DNA structure and
chemical composition,will learn the advanced techniques of modern molecular
biology applied in biotechnology and research.
Course contents summary
The bacterial cell: approach to the technology of recombinant DNA.
DNA, the primary genetic material.
The structure of DNA; genetic code and protein synthesis. Role of genes in cells. Notions of gene expression regulation.
Techniques of DNA analysis and manipulation.
Restriction enzymes, electrophoretic separation. Modification enzymes, in vitro reactions.
Recombinant DNA and cloning strategies.
Cloning vectors; bacterial competence and transformation.
Probes and hybridization: a cDNA library. Northern and Southern Blotting techniques.
The Polymerase Chain Reaction.
PCR technology and applications. DNA sequencing.
Applications of recombinant DNA technology.
Procariotic expression vectors: pUC and pET plasmids. Few concepts of recombinant expression and protein engineering.
General and Inorganic Chemistry
Elements and compounds. Sub-atomic particles. Atomic number,mass number,isotopes.
Atomic structure. Electronic configuration of the elements.
Periodic table. Periodic trends in the chemical properties of the elements.
Chemical bonding: ionic bond; covalent bond (pure, polar,dative). Intermolecular bonding.
Atomic and molecular weight, gram atom, gram molecule;related exercises and stoichiometric calculations.
Inorganic chemical compounds:hydrurs, binary acids,oxides,anhydrides,peroxides,
hydroxides, acids,neutral and acidic salts; formation reactions,
Oxidation state and oxidation number; balancing ox-red reactions.
Chemical kinetics:rates of chemical reactions. The factors that affect
chemical reaction rate:chemical nature of the reactants,concentration
(order of a reaction), temperature and catalysts.
Chemical equilibrium:concept of dynamic equilibrium.
The general expression of the equilibrium constant.
Factors that affect the chemical equilibrium. Le Chatelier’s principle.
Chemical thermodynamics: concept of enthalpy, entropy, freeenergy.
Solutions. Concentrations units: percent fraction w/w andw/v, molarity, molality.
Preparation of solutions.
Colligative properties of solutions: boiling point elevation, freezing point
depression; osmosis, osmotic pressure and osmolarity.
Acids and bases.Acid-base equilibria.Water ionization.Concept of pH.
Calculating the pH of acid and base (strong and weak) solutions.
Buffer solutions:properties and pH calculation.
Aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons: nomenclature, physical properties and characteristic reactions.
Alcohols: nomenclature, physical properties, characteristic reactions. Formation of ethers.
Aldehydes and ketones: nomenclature, physical properties,characteristic reactions.
Carboxylic acids: nomenclature, physical properties, characteristic reactions.
Esters: nomenclature, formation reaction, basic hydrolysis. Amides, anhydrides, acid halides: structure and nomenclature.
Amines: structure and nomenclature, basicity, characteristic reactions.
Stereoisomerism and optical activity: basic concepts.
Lipids: fatty acids, triglycerides, phospholipids; structure and properties.
Aminoacids and proteins:general structure and classification of the
20 aminoacids that occur in proteins. Acid-base behaviour of aminoacids;
isoelectric point.Peptide bond.The different levels of protein structure:
primary,secondary,tertiary and quaternary.
Carbohydrates:structure and properties of the most important
(maltose,lactose,saccarose) and polysaccharides. Chiral properties.
Nucleic acids:the sugar and the base components of nucleosides
and nucleotides. Nucleosides and nucleotides
All the study materials and supporting web sites are provided by the teachers.
Frontal lectures (aided by presentations and animations files) and practicals.