96261 - Structural Bases of Molecular Interactions

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student has knowledge on the networks describing interactions among biological molecules (proteins, nucleic acids, metabolites) and on experimental approaches for their determination on a large scale. The student skills include specific database querying and the usage of analytical tools dedicated to interaction data. S/he also acquires knowledge on computational methods for modeling and analyzing the complexity of interaction networks in the context of cellular functions. The student is able to critically apply knowledge and skills in practical contexts, including the functional characterization of genes and gene sets and the interpretation of the effect of genetic variations on the functions of the molecular network.

Course contents

  • General features and types of protein-protein interactions
  • Experimental methods for the determination of protein-protein interactions and proteins-nucleic acids
  • Inference methods for protein-protein interactions
  • Database of protein-protein interactions, metabolic pathways and signaling pathways
  • Conserved structural domains that mediate protein-protein or protein-nucleic acid interactions
  • Structural analysis of these domains through molecular graphics software
  • Analyses of biological networks


Articles and reviews will be provided during the lessons, provided in PDF format, undisclosed, and will be available to students on Virtuale (https://virtuale.unibo.it/)

Teaching methods

Lectures supported by slides

Exercise in biochemistry laboratory

Exercises with molecular graphics software (Chimera) and of biological network analyses (Cytoscape). Softwares are freely downloadable and run on Windows, MacOS and Linux.

Assessment methods

Learning assessment will take place through oral exam. A first evaluation will be carried out on the basis of individual seminars and laboratory reports that will be held during the course. The final evaluation will include an interview (exam) during which the overall learning of the topics of the course will be verified. Students are required to communicate their intention to accept the grade of STRUCTURAL BASES OF BIOLOGICAL NETWORKS by email. If accepted, the grade of STRUCTURAL BASES OF BIOLOGICAL NETWORKS will be considered valid for one calendar year and will be mediated with the grade of MOLECULAR SIGNALLING TRASDUCTION. Prof. Porcelli will record the final grade.

Teaching tools

Videoprojector, PC, internet. Lecture slides will be available.

Office hours

See the website of Luisa Iommarini