General aims of the course: (1) To introduce students to the molecular design of life, including structural and biological properties of the main constituents of organisms; (2) To describe the molecular basis of the main biological processes, with particular emphasis on the metabolic fate of the lipidic, proteic and glicidic components of food; (3) To detail molecular basis of energy production from the main food components under aerobic and anaerobic conditions; (4) To introduce students to the main molecular biology mechanisms, including DNA replication, RNA and protein synthesis; (5) To detail the structure-function relationship in proteins; (6) To describe the biological roles of vitamins
Expected learning outcomes
1- Knowledge and understanding. The course is aimed at providing information concerning (a) the structure and function of the most relevant biomolecules, including macromolecules, with particular emphasis on proteins (b) the main biological processes operating in animal cells, including the biological fate of the main components of nutrients, mechanisms of energy production and storage, molecular mechanisms of metabolic control and signal transduction and (c) expression of genetic information. 2-Ability to apply knowledge and understanding. At the end of the course the student must be able to distinguish the main metabolic effects of the proteic, lipidic and glicidic components of food, with particular emphashis on their relative role in energy production and storage under aerobic or anaerobic conditions. Such information is of the utmost importance to understand the metabolic/dismetabolic , physiological/pathological and nutritional processes described in later courses related to animal productions
Amino acids, proteins and structural levels of proteins (3 hours) Biological membranes and transport across membranes (4 hours) Oxygen-transporting proteins (4 hours) Collagen (1 hour) Enzymes: kinetics and mechanisms of regulation, zymogens (4 hours) Molecular mechanisms of digestion, absorption and transport of the main nutritionally relevant classes of compounds (6 hours) Metabolism of carbohydrates: glycolysis, pentose phosphate pathway, metabolism of glycogen, gluoconeogenesis, biosynthesis of lactose (8 hours) Metabolism of lipids: metabolism of fatty acids and ketone bodies, overview of metabolism of triacylglicerols, phosphoglycerids, sfingolipids, cholesterol and steroids (6 hours) Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation (4 hours) Metabolism of amino acids: amino acid degradation and the urea cycle, overview of nitrogen fixation and amino acid biosynthesis (3 hours) Overview of metabolism of nucleotides (2 hours) Integration of metabolism and overview of hormonal control of metabolism (2 hours) Vitamins (1 hour) Molecular biology: structure and function of nucleic acids, genetic code, DNA replication, transcription and post-transcriptional modifications, protein synthesis and post-translational modifications (10 hours) Seminars on practical use of enzymes, bioenergetics, oxidative stress, recombinant proteins, ruminal biochemistry, proteomics (6 hours)
Prerequisites for admission
In order to attend the course profitably the student should be endowed with basic knowledge of general, inorganic and organic chemistry. It is highly recommended to follow the course "Chemistry" held in the first semester. Alternatively, students can use any basic level chemistry textbook or on-line material.
The course consists of theoretical lectures and seminars on specific topics. Videos available on-line are used to describe complex biological processes
The examination takes place in a single written test consisting in 4 open questions, one for each of the following general subject: metabolism and its control, general biochemistry, molecular biology and the structure of a nucleic acid. Information concerning the specific topic comprised in each general subject is clearly indicated to students at the beginning of the course and can be found in the ARIEL site of the teacher (https://anegribbm.ariel.ctu.unimi.it/v5/home/Default.aspx). Students must complete the test in 2.5 hours. The overall final score of the test, beside correctness, takes into account completeness, clarity, synthesis and use of proper terminology. Exam are in number of 7 in the Academic year and take place in the months of January, February, April June, July, September and October, with the frequency estabilished by the teaching college.