67017 - Cellular Biochemistry

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Biological Sciences (cod. 8012)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student konws the biochemical mechanisms of different cellular porcess such as the folding, the maturation and the protein traffic into the cells; the inter-cellular comunication, the cytoscheleton organization, the cellular cycle and the mechanism of apoptosis.

Course contents

Traffic and transport of secretion proteins: Rough reticulum and co-translational translocation. SRP and its receptor. Structure of the protein-translocation pore SecY in the ER. Hsp70 and Hsp60 chaperons in the ER. Protein glycosylation in the ER. Calnexin and quality control. Golgi apparatus: structure, function in lipids biosynthesis and secretion protein glycosylation. Targetting of lysosomal proteins. Coated vescicles: COPI, COPII and clatrin. Molecular mechanisms of vesicle budding and fusion.

The nucleus: Structure of nuclear pores. Protein import in the nucleus: NIS, importins, Ran proteins cycle. Export of mRNA and ribosomal subunits.

Biogenesis of organelles (mitochondria and peroxisomes): Mitochondrial genome and genetic code. Nucloids. Presequences and mechanisms for protein selection at the mitochondrial outer membrane. Protein traslocons in mitochondrial membranes (TOM, TIM23 and TIM22, Oxa 1, SAM). Mia and Erv1. Import in chloroplasts (TOC and TIC). Peroxisomes: function and biogenesis: peroxines, targeting signals Pts1/Pts2. Peroxisomes assembly: Pex3 and Pex 11. Import into the peroxisomal matrix: the importomer.

Cell-cell signaling: Modes o cell-cell signaling. First messengers: peptidic and lipophilic hormones (steroid, thyroid, estrogen hormones, eicosanoids, etc). Intracellular receptors and nuclear targets (HRE). Membrane receptors. Seven-TM receptors. G proteins. The effector systems: adenylate cyclase, phospholipase C, ionic channels. Second messengers: cAMP, cGMP, DAG and IP3, calcium. Tyrosine kinase receptors: molecular organization, activation and signalling. Structure of SH2 and SH3 domains. Structure of non-receptor tyrosine kinase (Src). Structure, activation and function of Ras; MAP kinases, JAK/STAT and Wnt/Hedgehoge Notch. PI-3-kinase, Akt and mTOR. Beta and gamma isoforms of PLC. IP3 and intracellular calcium stores. Calmodulin and CAM kinase II. cytoskeleton and signal transduction: integrins and FAK/MAP.

Cell cycle: An overview of cell cycle, the different phases of cell cycle. Role of cyclins and cyclin dependent kinases (cdks) and their regulation. Control steps of cell cycle and pathological aspects of cell cycle deregulation.

Apoptosi: An overview of cell death pathways. Molecular mechanisms of apoptotic cell death: caspases activation and mechanism, initiator caspases and executor caspases. Extrinsic pathway of apoptosis and death receptors. Intrinsic pathway of apoptosis the role of mitochondria and Bcl2 proteins.

Cytoskeleton and molecular motors: Organization of cytoskeleton components. Microfilaments: structure of actin, filaments polarity, intermediate filaments and microtubules. Polarity of cytoskelal elements. Motor proteins and interactions with cytoskeleton: myosins, kinesins and dyneins. Molecular structures of myosins e kinesins.


Alberts, B., Johnson A., Lewis J., Morgan D., Raff M., Roberts K., Walter P. Biologia molecolare della cellula. Sesta edizione, Zanichelli 2016.

Alberts, B., Johnson, A., Morgan, D., Raff, M., Roberts, K., Walter, P. L'essenziale di biologia molecolare della cellula. Quinta edizione, Zanichelli, 2020

B. Lewin: Cellule. Zanichelli 2008

G.M. Cooper e R.E. Hausman, La cellula. Un approccio molecolare, Piccin, Padova, 3a edizione 2011

J. Berg, J.L. Tymoczko e L. Stryer, Biochimica, VII Edizione, Zanichelli 2012

Teaching methods

The course will be held in presence unless new university rules and includes lectures, classroom group work and activities on the Moodle platform.


Assessment methods

Oral interview about all the topics treated during the course, with particular regard towards the correct tecnical language and the ability to interconnect the knowlegdes.

Students who need aids during the oral exam must contact the teacher to agree on the method of conducting the test.

Teaching tools

Power point slides, projector, PC.

Registered students can download lesson presentations, articles and other teaching materials through the web site https://virtuale.unibo.it/


Students are encouraged to communicate to the teacher any requirements by e-mail as soon as possible. This will allow teacher to evaluate which teaching support tools are most adequate to make the training course accessible to all students of the course.

Office hours

See the website of Anna Maria Ghelli


Quality education

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.