Aims

In the Biochemistry course the structure-function relationships of biological molecules, signalling pathways and metabolism are illustrated.

Through the knowledge of how molecules and cells work, the chemical processes that define them, and how they interact with one another, students will get an in-depth insight into how cells and tissues function in health and sickness and how we can use that knowledge to understandthe basis of treatments for diseases. Thus, the course is crucial and will pave the way for a molecular approach to physiology, pathology and pharmacology courses. The course include three modules: Biochemistry, Cellular Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Biochemistry module

Following the structure and properties of amino acids, the structure and function of proteins are considered with reference to the main protein classes; then, fundamentals of catalysis and enzyme properties and mechanisms are discussed. The structure and properties of carbohydrates and lipids, including glycoproteins, glycolipids and glycosaminoglycans are presented. The structure and function of nucleic acids terminate the structural part of the course.

Metabolism is introduced by a discussion of the principles governing metabolism including bioenergetics, compartmentalization, and the operation and control of pathways. Major metabolic pathways of carbohydrate metabolism are discussed. This is followed by oxidative metabolism and lipid metabolism (i.e., triglycerides, phospholipids and sterols). Then, the metabolism of amino acids, porphyrins and nucleotides are developed. Finally the synthesis of ATP by oxidative phosphorylation is considered. After taking into account the distinct metabolic pathways, their integration, hormonal regulation and tissue-specific metabolism are described.

Cellular Biochemistry module

Cellular biochemistry is developed considering the structure, organization and function of biological membranes. This is followed by the main signal transduction pathways, the molecular regulation of cell cycle, cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. The biochemistry of hormones is then discussed.

Molecular Biology module

Molecular biology is developed by putting special emphasis on the macromolecular processes of DNA replication and repair, RNA transcription and processing, protein synthesis, post-translational modifications and protein sorting. Aspects of regulation of gene expression and biotechnology are also discussed.

Exam

The exam is written with open ended questions on the topics covered in the lectures of the Biochemistry, Cellular Biochemistry and Molecular Biology modules.

Textbooks:

D. Nelson, M. Cox

Lehninger PRINCIPLES OF BIOCHEMISTRY. 5th or 6th edition.

ISBN-10: 1464109621; ISBN-13: 978-1464109621

or

J. Berg, J. Tymoczko, L. Stryer

BIOCHEMISTRY 7th or 8th edition.

ISBN-10:1464126100; ISBN-13: 978-1464126109