Molecular Biology

A.Y. 2017/2018
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The main objective of the course is to gain a deep knowledge of the molecular structure of nucleic acids and proteins, their biological functions and the molecular methodologies used to reach these goals. In particular, the student will study the fundamental mechanisms of the DNA replication, repair and recombination processes, and the molecular processes controlling gene expression from DNA to proteins. Both classic experiments and innovative genome-wide approaches will be described to illustrate the structures and functions of the genomes.
Expected learning outcomes
Course syllabus and organization

Linea 1

Lesson period
First semester
BIO/11 - MOLECULAR BIOLOGY - University credits: 9
Lessons: 72 hours
Professor: Popolo Laura Maria

Linea 2

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
Brief introduction on protein structure
The molecular features of genes
The chemical nature of the genetic material: the discovery of the DNA
DNA structures
Chemical-physical properties of DNA
RNA structures: chemical-physical properties of RNA
DNA topology and DNA topoisomerases

Brief introduction on gene functions
Introduction on the control of gene expression
Short summary on the flow of genetic information and the discovery of the genetic code
The different levels of the gene expression

Organization and evolution of genes, chromosomes and genomes
The structure and plasticity of prokaryotic genomes.
Organization of eukaryotic genomes. The structure of eukaryotic chromatin. Gene families, DNA repeats, satellite DNA, microsatellites, minisatellites, transposones and retrotransposones. The DNA test.

Methods to study nucleic acid and proteins structure as well as gene expression
Spectrophotometric and ultracentrifugation techniques
DNA denaturation and renaturation: probes and hybridization.
DNA cloning techniques: The recombinant DNA technologies. Types of cloning vectors.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and its multiple applications.
DNA and cDNA libraries and their uses.
Electrophoresis and other techniques to separate nucleic acid and proteins: Southern, Northern, and Western blotting.
Classic method for DNA sequencing and the development of next generation sequences procedures.
Methods to study gene expression and mutagenesis.
Knock out and other methods to switch off gene expression. Various genome editing methods.
Genetic, biochemical and molecular biology approaches to study protein-DNA and protein-protein interactions.
Experimental approaches for genome and proteome wide analyses.
The development of Bioinformatics tools.
The relevance of model organisms to study genomes and their expression.

DNA replication
DNA replication models
Gene and factors involved in DNA replication in prokaryotes, eukaryotes, DNA and RNA virus .
Control of DNA replication.

DNA repair
Different types of DNA damages.
Different types of DNA repair mechanisms.
The control of the genome integrity and the DNA damage signal transduction pathway.
Genome integrity checkpoints and cancerogenesis.

DNA recombination
Meiotic recombination
General and site-specific recombination
Recombination models
DNA transposition
Molecular mechanisms and factors involved in DNA recombination

DNA transcription
Prokaryotes as paradigms for the control of gene expression at the transcriptional level.
The eukaryotic RNA polymerases and their promoters.
General transcription factors in eukaryotes.
Transcriptional activators and repressors in eukaryotes
Impact of the chromatin structure on the control of transcription.
Processing of the RNA transcripts
The splicing process
The control of the RNA transcripts stability
Regulation of gene expression through RNA splicing and transcript stability

RNA translation (protein synthesis)
Mechanism of RNA translation
RNA translation and the control of gene expression
Post-translational regulation of gene expression
Protein stability
Post-translational controls (phosphorylation, ubiquitination and other types of protein modifications)

Suggested textbook
Amaldi, F., Benedetti, P., Pesole, G. e Plevani, P. Biologia Molecolare. C.E.A., Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 2014.
Craig et al. Biologia Molecolare, Pearson Ed. 2013

Other textbooks will be suggested during the course.
There will be a written exam with open questions regarding any part of the program.
Attendance to class mandatory.
Teaching methods: traditional.
Teaching lenguage: italian.
BIO/11 - MOLECULAR BIOLOGY - University credits: 9
Lessons: 72 hours
Professor: Pellicioli Achille
Wednesday 10.30-12.30 and Friday 10.30-11.30
Monday and Friday 11.30-13.30
office room at the 5th floor B