Learning outcomes of the course unit
the course has as its formative objective to provide sufficient knowledge in general and organic chemistry and biochemistry, to enable the students i) to understand the chemical bases of life, the structural and functional principles of molecules with biological interest; ii) to understand the biochemical pathways and their relationships and metabolic regulations.
Course contents summary
Elements and Compounds. Atoms and Molecules - The subatomic particles, protons, electrons, and neutrons. Atomic number and atomic weight. Isotopes. Atomic orbitals and their energy levels. Electron configurations of the first 20 elements. Periodic properties of the elements, periodic table and electron configurations.
Chemical bonding: formulas and nomenclature - Lewis symbols of the elements. Ionic and covalent bonds. Electronegativity and polar molecules. Intermolecular forces. Formulas and nomenclature of inorganic compounds. Valence and oxidation number. Elements, ions and compounds of biological interest: main biological functions.
The mole concept and chemical reactions - The mole concept. Chemical reaction: the law of mass conservation. The stoichiometry of reactions.
Solutions - Polarity of water molecules and hydrogen bonding. Water as a solvent. Electrolytes and non electrolytes. Strong and weak electrolytes. Expressions of concentration :molarity, percent composition (weight and volume). Osmosis and osmotic pressure. Isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic solutions. Ionization of water.
Acids and bases - Definition of acids and bases. Solubility and dissociation in water. Strong acids and strong bases. Weak acids and weak bases. Neutralization reactions. The pH.concept. Buffers: the control of pH. Physiological buffers.
Organic compounds and main characteristic of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins - Carbon compounds. Covalent bond in organic compounds. Isomerism. Functional groups. Types of reactions: substitution, addition, elimination. Structure and function of macromolecules. Monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides. Fatty acids. Tryglicerides and phospholipids. Amminoacids as structural units of proteins. Peptidic bond and protein structure.
Enzymes - Kinetics of enzymatic reactions. The Michaelis-Menten constant (Km). Classification. Coenzymes. Isoenzymes. Competitive and non-competitive inhibition of enzyme activity. Allosteric enzymes.
Hemoglobin - Structure and function. An outline about synthesis and destruction.
Hormones - Overview and mechanisms of signal transduction.
Vitamins and coenzymes - Water-soluble vitamins: Thiamine (B1) - Riboflavin (B2) – Pyridoxine (B6) – Folic acid – Cobalamin (B12) – Biotin (H) – Pantothenic acid – Nicotinamide – Ascorbic acid. Lipid-soluble vitamins: Vitamin A – Vitamin D – Vitamin E – Vitamin K.
Coenzymes involved in hydrogen or electrons transfer & coenzymes involved in groups transfer.
Bioenergetics - Energy production and energy storage in the living cell. Some basic principles of bioenergetics. High-energy compounds.
Introduction to the metabolism - Catabolism. Anabolism. General aspects of metabolism regulation. Carbohydrates metabolism: digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Glyolysis. Synthesis and catabolism of glycogen. The pentose pathway. The Krebs citric acid cycle. Gluconeogenesis. Lipid metabolism: digestion and absorption of fat. Fatty acids b-oxidation. Synthesis and oxidation of ketone bodies. Biosynthesis of fatty acids. Structure and function of cholesterol. Amino acid metabolism: digestion of proteins and absorption of amino acids. Essential and non-essential aminoacids. Main reactions of amino acids: deamination and transamination. Fate of the amino group and ammonia. The urea cycle. Decarboxylation.
Campbell N A, Reece JB. “La chimica della vita e la cellula”, Zanichelli Editore.
Giuseppe Arienti. “Un compendio di Biochimica”; Piccin Editore.
frontal lesson with slides