Biological chemistry

A.Y. 2016/2017
Overall hours
Learning objectives
L'obiettivo del corso consiste nel fornire allo studente tutte le conoscenze necesarie per impadronirsi delle basi della chimica biologica, con particolare riguardo alla comprensione ed allo studio dei principali processi biologici negli organismi viventi. Il corso è strutturato in due unità didattiche.
Expected learning outcomes
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
The aim of the course is to provide students with all the knowledge needed to master the basics of biological chemistry, particularly with regard to the understanding and study of the major biological processes in living organisms.

Course content
Structure, chemical properties and reactivity of carbohydrates (mono-, di- and polysaccharides).
Nucleic acids: bases, nucleosides, nucleotides, base-pairing, DNA structure
Structure, chemical properties and reactivity of amino acids. Chemical synthesis of peptides (in solution and in solid phase), protective groups.
Protein structure and folding
Oxygen transport proteins: myoglobin and haemoglobin.
Enzymes: basis concepts and kinetics, cofactors and coenzymes, the Michaelis-Menten equation, regulation of the enzymatic activity
Enzymatic inhibition: reversible (competitive, incompetitive and non-competitive) and irreversible inhibitors
Serine proteases: general properties, three dimensional structure, activation and catalytic mechanism.
Bioenergetics: high-energy compounds. ATP and other phosphorylated compounds. Redox reactions. Electron carriers: NAD+ and FAD
Metabolism: basic concepts and regulation, glycolysis, acetil-CoA synthesis, citric acid cycle, electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation

Suggested prerequisites
Mandatory Organic Chemistry I

Reference material
- Voet, Voet, Pratt: Principles of Biochemistry, Wiley
- Garrett, Grisham: Principles of Biochemistry, Cengage Learning.
- Nelson, Cox: Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, W H Freeman & Co
- Petsko, Ringe, Protein Structure and Function, Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Copies of the slides projected in the classroom as well as other materials will be made available through the course website on the ARIEL platform of the University of Milano ( By no means this material replaces the lectures or a textbook. The material is made available only to registered students of the Degree Course in Biological Chemistry and should not be distributed to others.


Assessment method
The exam consists of a written test which aims to evaluate the student's knowledge on the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject treated in the course. The written test requires open answers to questions and/or the solution of exercises. During the examination it is not allowed to consult texts or notes.

Language of instruction

Attendance Policy:

Mode of teaching:

BIO/10 - BIOCHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Thursday, 10:30-12:30
Dept. of Biosciences, C tower, 5th floor