The aim of this module is initially to explain the characteristics and roles of molecules that constitute living cells, including DNA, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. Subsequently, the fundamental metabolic pathways will be explored, along with the concept of inborn errors of metabolism and the application of DNA technology to their treatment.
Aims and Objectives
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- Describe the structure of nucleic acids and explain how DNA is replicated, transcribed and translated into proteins.
- Describe the secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures of proteins including explanation of the forces involved in forming and maintaining such structures.
- Describe the integration of metabolic pathways in anabolic and catabolic states (including exercise, starvation and diabetes).
- Describe the structure of membranes and the structures/functions of proteins found in membranes.
- Explain the Michaelis-Menten model of enzyme kinetics, including the effects of inhibitors, substrate concentration, temperature, pH and allosteric regulators on enzyme activity.
- Describe the pathways involved in the metabolism of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids, glycogen and triglycerides.
- Describe energetic and structural roles of carbohydrates in living organisms, including photosynthesis.
- Describe the structures and properties of the amino acids found in proteins including examples of post-translational modifications to their structure.
- Define a plasmid and explain the use of restriction enzymes in creating recombinant DNA for use in molecular biology/biotechnology.
- Outline the hormonal regulation of metabolism and discuss the importance of protein phosphorylation in this context.
- Explain the concept of inborn errors of metabolism and how they may be corrected with biotechnology.
Subject Specific Practical Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Know how to perform fundamental molecular laboratory techniques such as running gels, column chromatography and measuring absorbances.
The module will introduce some of the macromolecules found in cells, how these are synthesised and the role they play. The structure and function of the various forms of nucleic acid are described and how the genetic information is passed on from one generation to another.
The structures of the amino acids used to synthesise proteins and the various characteristics they contribute to the final protein are discussed which leads onto a description of how protein chains fold, the structures of fully folded proteins and the nature of forces that stabilise the folded protein. Then, particular examples of proteins are explored: enzymes and membrane proteins, including the lipids found in membranes. Post-translational modifications of proteins are discussed, in particular glycosylation which leads on to other roles of carbohydrates in biological systems.
Subsequent lectures build upon the basic DNA and protein knowledge to illustrate how DNA can be manipulated by modern molecular biology techniques and how genes can be located in extracts of DNA, isolated and then cloned into plasmid vectors for high expression of the protein they encode.
Having introduced the macromolecules found in living organisms, the module moves on to photosynthesis and the major metabolic pathways that convert macromolecules consumed in the diet into energy, and how these pathways are regulated and altered by physiological and pathological scenarios such as starvation, exercise and diabetes. The causes and consequences of inborn mutations in key steps in these metabolic pathways are discussed, including options for treatment with DNA technology.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
This course consists of 42 lectures and 6 lab-based practical sessions.
|Practical classes and workshops||18|
|Total study time||300|
Resources & Reading list
Blackboard site. Additional supporting material for this module can be found on the Blackboard module page. This includes access to virtual practicals.
Roger Miesfeld and Megan McEvoy (2017). Biochemistry. W. W. Norton & Company.
Despo Papachristodoulou, Alison Snape, William H. Elliott and Daphne C. Elliott (2018). Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Oxford University Press.
Gerhard Meisenberg & William H. Simmons (2016). Principles of Medical Biochemistry . Elsevier Health Sciences.
Summative assessment description
Referral assessment description
Repeat type: Internal & External