Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

Academic year: 
Belonging course: 
Course of Bachelor's Degree Programme on BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE
Disciplinary sector: 
Year of study: 
Dott.ssa DI DONATO Paola
First Semester
Hours of front activity: 



Course description

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand and describe for the structure and function of bio-molecules and of basic metabolic processes.
- Account for the biological function of bio-molecules and their role into the primary metabolism.
- Account for the structure-activity relationship of bio-molecules also in relation to their role for the cellular processes.
- Ability to transfer the basic concepts of molecular nature of living matter.
- Learning skills by using sources other than those officially suggested.


Knowledge of the following basic concepts acquired by the courses of “Matematica e Statistica”, “Chimica Generale e Inorganica con Laboratorio” and “Chimica organica ambientale con Laboratorio”:
- mathematical functions, integrals, asymptotes;
- periodic properties of chemical elements; the different kinds of chemical bonds; weak interactions;
- main functional groups in organic molecules; structure and reactivity of aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and their derivatives; nitrogen compounds (ammines, immines and ammides).


Introduction to the biochemistry.
The cellular theory and the molecular bases of life. The structure of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells: organization, roles of the cell components, energy transduction, reproduction.

Introduction to the structure and properties of proteins, lipid, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Common reactions of biological systems. The water and the hydrogen bonding.

The proteins: structure and properties of standard aminoacids. The four levels of protein organization. The primary structure and the features of the peptide bond. The secondary structure: alpha-helix and beta-sheet, beta-turns. The tertiary structure: fibrous and globular proteins, protein domains. the native conformation and the denaturation process.

The protein functions: interaction with ligands, (myoglobin and hemoglobin), the allosteric proteins. The enzymes: the theories for the formation of the enzyme-substrate complex. The Michaelis - Menten kinetics, the enzyme inhibition, the allosteric enzymes.

Experimental methods for the study of proteins: isolation, of endo- and exo- cellular proteins. Purification by molecular sieve, ion exchange and affinity chromatography. Gel electrophoresis: native and SDS-PAGE. Basic concepts of mass spectrometry.

The carbohydrates: structure and function. The monosaccharides; the glycosidic bond. Examples of the main oligosaccharides; homo- and hetero-polysaccharides. The glycoconjugates.

The lipids: simple and compound lipids; cellular membranes. Integral and peripheral proteins. Solute's transport across membranes; types of transporters.

The metabolism: thermodynamics and bioenergetics. Hydrolysis of the phosphorylated compounds. The redox processes in the biological systems and the electrons' carrier molecules.

The Glycolysis and Gluconeogenesis: the chemical reactions, the enzymes regulation and the energy balance; alcoholic and lactic fermentation. The pentose phosphate pathway.
Glycogen metabolism: biosynthesis and degradation; regulation and hormone control of biosynthesis and degradation of glycogen.

The Krebs cycle: the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; the chemical reactions, the enzymes regulation and the energy balance.

The lipids metabolism: beta-oxidation of fatty acids; the chemical reactions, the enzymes regulation and the energy balance. Biosynthesis of fatty acids: Fatty acid synthase (FAS).

The aminoacids metabolism: basic concepts. The urea cycle.
The electron transport chain and the oxidative phosphorylation: electron carrier molecules and complexes of the respiratory chain. The chemiosmotic model and the synthesis of ATP.

The hormone regulation of metabolism: structure and function of glucagon, adrenaline and insulin.

The protein synthesis and the genetic code.

The biochemistry course provides the basic knowledge of the structure and properties of the universal cells' components, and of the chemical processes of the primary metabolism of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.
The course’s topics can be grouped as follows:

--The structure and functions of bio-molecules (26 hrs classroom lessons)
Subjects: Proteins and enzymes. Polysaccharides. Lipids an cell membranes. Nucleic acids.

-Analytical techniques for proteins (8 hrs classroom lessons + 4 hrs laboratory)
Subjects: Isolation. Purification (chromatography and electrophoresis). Characterization.

-The cell metabolism (34 hrs classroom lessons)
Glycolysis. Gluconeogenesis. Beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Biosynthesis of fatty acids The aminoacids metabolism: basic concepts. The urea cycle. The Krebs cycle. The electron transport chain and the oxidative phosphorylation. The protein synthesis.

Teaching Methods

The course includes classroom lectures and one laboratory session guided by the teacher.


"Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry", David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox, Ed. Zanichelli
Course slides available on the e-learning site at the following link: http://e-scienzeetecnologie.uniparthenope.it/login/index.php

Learning assessment

The final exam consists of two parts:
- a written examination (2 hrs) in order to assess the knowledge of the primary metabolism, organized in 7 main questions
- an oral examination, in order to assess the knowledge of the structure and function of biomolecules.
The final evaluation will be based on the scores of both written and oral tests. If any of the examinations would result under the minimal scores, both of them should be repeated.

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