Biomolecules: structure and function
Biomolecules requires general knowledge on inorganic and organic chemistry, biochemistry and biology.
Description of structural and functional properties of different biomolecules, like proteins, nuclei acids, lipids and carbohydrates. Students will learn the structural differences of biomolecules and their specific functions, recognizing the involved cellular pathways. The main effort will be devoted in the comprehension of proteins/enzyme activities in both physiological and pathological conditions, by giving an overview of biomedical approaches. By explanation of common and innovative analytical techniques, students will be able to understand the relationship between human diseases and mutant proteins and/or altered metabolic processes. Finally students will have the possibility to develop a proper critical attitude by performing a personal search on topics of most interest.
Final exam and evaluation:
Knowledge verification will carried out with a final written test, formed by both multiple-choice questions and questions required a more detailed answer. It will be possible to evaluate the student’s ability to remember and to connect the different topics of course, but also to understand the degree of comprehension, gained through personal study.
In detail, it will be evaluated:
- the completeness of knowledge,
- the elaboration of relations between different topics, developing a deep critical capacity,
- the appropriate use of terminology,
- the capacity to deepen a subject of interest and to explain it with a clear and simple oral communication.
The final exam will be composed by many questions with different and specific scores, related to their difficulty, and the final evaluation will be performed considering all of them and the performance during the exposition of personal search.
Introduction of chemistry (water, pH), biochemistry (buffer, Eq. Henderson-Hasselbach) and thermodynamics. Definition of different biomolecules, describing their specific structures.
Amino acids description and formation of peptide bonds.
Proteins: explanation of primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures. Knowledge of analytical technologies, used for protein’s purification (chromatography and electrophoresis) and for protein structure’s determination (X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry).
Proteins classification. Description of fibrous proteins: Keratins, silk/spider fibroin class and collagen. Explanation of muscles proteins and of their role in muscle contraction. Globular proteins: immunoglobulins, myoglobin and hemoglobin.
Structure and function of cellular membrane, definition of membrane proteins. Description of proteins involved in mediated passive transport and mediated active transport.
Enzymes: definition and thermodynamics. Understanding of catalysis mechanism and of its modulation (inhibitors, allosteric and covalent modulation). Description and function of serine proteases, thrombin and fibrinogen.
Metabolism and metabolic thermodynamics. Explanation of all metabolic steps of glycolysis and Kreb’s cycle. Metabolism of carbohydrates: structure and function of glycogen, reporting glycogenolysis and glycogenesis. Metabolism of lipids: triglycerides structure and function, describing fatty acids degradation. Metabolism of proteins (proteolysis) and of amino acids.
The part above represents all theoretical topics, exclusively explained by professor. The course will comprise also an exercises’ part, during which professor/assistant will solve chemical problems and explain questions regarding the previous lessons, similar to ones present in the final exam. During these hours, also students will participate with an exposition about their search on chosen topics of most interest, explained during the course.
The Biomolecules course is formed by direct teaching lessons, during which the professor will use powerpoint files, and by lessons to solve exercises and any doubts. During these final lessons, all students, previously divided into small groups, will perform an oral exposition, using powerpoint file, in order to deeper investigate a topic of high interest.
All slides, discussed during lessons and during exercises solution, will be organized in powerpoint files and uploaded on Beep web site, before lessons.
- David Whitford, Proteins: Structure and Function, Editor: John Wiley & sons, Ltd, ISBN: 978-0471-49894-0
- Nelson & Cox, Introduzione alla biochimica di Lehninger, Editor: Zanichelli, ISBN: 8808064131
- D. Voet, JG Voet, CW Pratt, Fondamenti di Biochimica, Editor: Zanichelli, ISBN: 880806879X