66942 - Bio-Organic Chemistry

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The student will gain a good knowledge of bio-organic chemistry, that includes the structure and reactivity of biological molecules, such as peptides, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids. The student will also study the most important metabolic pathways (both anabolism and katabolism), including all the reaction mechanisms.

Course contents

Structure and function of the main classes of biomolecules: lipids, carbohydrates, peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes and coenzymes.
The role of enzymes in metabolism
Carbohydrate catabolism: polysaccharides depolymerization; glycolysis; pyruvate transformations and production of acetyl-CoA, lactic acid, ethanol; Krebs cycle; the pathway of pentose phosphates.
Respiratory chains and coupled phosphorylation
Carbohydrates biogenesis: gluconeogenesis; photosynthesis and Calvin-Benson cycle; synthesis of polysaccharides (starch, glucogen, cellulose, chitin)
The shikimic acid route; synthesis of phenyl alanine and cinnamic acids;
Metabolism of fatty acids and triglycerides: cleavage and synthesis of acyl-glycerols; beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Biogenesis of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Biogenesis of polyketides. Formation of prostanoids and leukotrienes
Biogenesis of terpenes and sterols: isopentenyl diphosphate formation; the mevalonic acid route; the alternative route. From IPP to terpenes.Biogenesis of lanosterol and cholesterol; steroids formation; biogenesis of carotenoids
Biogenesis of nucleotides and nucleic acids; formation of purines, pyrimidines, nucleosides; transcription and replication of nucleic acids; the genetic code.
Metabolism of amino acids and peptides. Hydrolysis of peptides; deamination of amino acids; routes for the elimination of the amino group. Biogenesis of some amino acids; transamination; ribosomal and non-ribosomal protein synthesis

Biosynthesis of some natural substances.


Chimica Bio-organica - John McMurry, Tadhg Begley - Zanichelli
I principi di biochimica di Lehninger sesta edizione - David. L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox - Zanichelli

Teaching methods

Lecture and discussion. Videoprojection.

Assessment methods

Written test including both open and multiple choice questions. The test is aimed to assess the knowledge aquired by the student with the structure and the transsformations common in the organi chemistry of biological systems. Usually, the test comprises 11 questions, each accountig 3 points, plus the laude.

In alternative, an oral exam

Teaching tools

Overhead projector, PC, blackboard

Office hours

See the website of Emilio Tagliavini