Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Fundamentals and Applications of Biological Chemistry 1

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



- 1.1 The major classes of natural molecules;
- 1.2 Common functional groups of biomolecules and common biochemical reactions;
- 1.3 Basic concepts of thermodynamics and equilibria as applied to metabolic reactions;
- 1.4 Phosphoryl transfer potential, with special reference to ATP;
- 1.5 Electrode potentials and free energy, and their application in the electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation.

2. Carbohydrates:
- 2.1 Structural types and nomenclature of carbohydrates: monosaccharides, aldoses vs ketoses, pyranoses vs furanoses, enantiomeric and anomeric configurations; disaccharides and glycosidic bonds;
- 2.2 Biosynthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates: the chemical reactions of photosynthesis, the Calvin cycle, the pentose phosphate pathway, gluconeogenesis, glycolysis, and the citric acid cycle.

3. Fatty acids and lipids:
- 3.1 Structural types and nomenclature of fatty acids and lipids: fatty acids (saturated vs unsaturated), lipids, phospholipids (types of phospholipids and phospholipid headgroups; mixed phospholipids);
- 3.2 Biosynthesis and catabolism of fatty acids and lipids;
- 3.3 Case study of lipids - liposomes: Chemical constituents of liposomes (phospholipids and cholesterol), phase transitions of lipid membranes (effects of fatty acids, head groups, cation binding and cholesterol, monitoring by microcalorimetry), physical structure of liposomes (size and lamellarity), liposome preparation (common stages of preparation and dispersal techniques), loading of liposomes (passive and active loading, post-purification techniques), chemical characterization of liposomes.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of this study-unit is to provide students with an understanding of how principles of physical and organic are applied in the field of biological chemistry of carbohydrates and fatty acids.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Define and explain briefly the role of entropy, and enthalpy in biochemical reactions;
- Define and explain Gibbs free energy (ΔG), standard free energy (ΔG0), and the equilibrium constant (Keq) as it applies to biochemical reactions;
- Describe the purpose of the electron transport chain (particularly complexes I, III, and IV) and ATP synthase, their substrates and products;
- Explain how electron transport and ATP synthase are functionally coupled;
- Identify the major monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides;
- Distinguish between N- and O-glycoproteins;
- Describe the overall purpose of glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, their reactants and products;
- Differentiate the enzymes involved in glycolysis vs gluconeogenesis;
- Explain how fructose and galactose feed into the glycolytic pathway;
- Describe the overall purpose of photosynthesis and the pentose phosphate pathway, and their reactants and products;
- Describe the overall purpose of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex and the TCA cycle, and their reactants and products;
- Distinguish the composition of different fatty acids, sphingolipids and phospholipids;
- Describe the pathway of fatty acid synthesis;
- Describe the mechanism for activation and transport of fatty acids into mitochondria for catabolism;
- Outline the sequence of reactions involved in oxidation of fatty acids;
- Describe the general features of pathways for oxidation of unsaturated and odd-chain fatty acids;
- Show how diacylglycerol serves as an intermediate in more than one pathway of lipid synthesis;
- List the various specific types of major membrane lipids and describe the role of membrane asymmetry;
- Define micelles and liposomes and describe how they are formed.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Apply the Gibbs free energy equation to calculate free energy and equilibrium in coupled reactions.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, David L. Nelson and Michael M. Cox, 5th ed., 2008.
- Biochemistry, Jeremy M. Berg, John L. Tymoczko and Lubert Stryer, 6th ed., 2007.
- Biochemistry, Donald Voet and Judith G. Voet, 4th ed., 2011.
- Essential biochemistry, Charlotte W. Pratt and Kathleen Cornely, 2nd ed., 2011.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Classwork SEM2 No 15%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 85%

LECTURER/S Claude A. Farrugia

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.