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Academic Year 2021/2022 - 3° Year
Teaching Staff: Luca VANELLA
Credit Value: 6
Scientific field: BIO/10 - Biochemistry
Taught classes: 35 hours
Exercise: 12 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

The course aims to describe the main characteristics of the macromolecules of biological interest (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids) and to provide knowledge on the main metabolic pathways. Furthermore, with reference to the so-called Dublin Descriptors, this course contributes to acquiring the following transversal skills: 1) Knowledge and understanding: ability to express with the appropriate biochemical terminology the molecular basis of biological systems and processes, of the main metabolic pathways and their integrations. Ability to relate the structural and molecular organization of enzymatic molecules with their catalytic activity, its inhibition, modulation and regulation. 2) Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: the student will be able to evaluate the effect of enzymatic inhibitors and identify the appropriate techniques for the separation and purification of biological macromolecules. Individual and group exercises, aimed at verifying the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of catalysis. 3) Learning skills: The student will be able to update and broaden their knowledge by independently drawing on texts, scientific articles and online platforms. 4) Autonomy of judgment: administration of ongoing training tests aimed at self-assessment of the understanding and learning of already completed teaching units; conscious evaluation of teaching. 5) Communication skills: Ability to provide correct definitions on the organizational level of enzymatic proteins according to the different levels of structural complexity. Ability to express specific metabolic events of organs and tissues, their interrelation and regulation with the appropriate biochemical terminology.

Course Structure

Frontal teaching, exercises and cooperative learning.

Detailed Course Content

1) Composition and structure of biological membranes

2) Nucleic acids: structures and functions.

3) Amino Acids and Proteins: Structures, Properties, Functions.

4) Enzymes: definition, distribution, nomenclature, mechanism of action, specificity, affinity, isoenzymes. Enzymatic kinetics. Enzymatic regulation.

5) Carbohydrates: definition, functions, nomenclature.

6) Lipids: definition, functions, nomenclature.

7) Cellular communication: receptor classification, molecular mechanism of action of hormones, signal transduction molecules, second messengers, signal translation pathways.

8) Apoptosis and necrosis.

9) Catabolism and Anabolism.

10) Glycolic metabolism: glycolysis, Krebs cycle, pentose pathway, gluconeogenesis, glycogenosynthesis, glycogenolysis.

11) Lipid metabolism: de novo biosynthesis of fatty acids, β-oxidation.

12) Protein and nucleotide metabolism: protein synthesis, metabolic fate of nitrogen, nucleotide biosynthesis.

13) The respiratory chain and its components.

14) Free radicals and defense mechanisms

Textbook Information


1) Nelson D.L. e Michael M. Cox M.M. I Principi Di Biochimica di Lehninger, Ed. Zanichelli.

2) Voet D., Voet J.C. e Pratt C.W. Fondamenti di Biochimica, Ed. Zanichelli.

3) Nelson e Cox. Introduzione alla Biochimica di Lehninger, Ed. Zanichelli