This module describes the types of macromolecules found in cells with a particular emphasis on DNA and proteins. The module will describe how proteins are synthesised and the role they play in cells. 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. Furthermore, it will describe to 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.
An introduction is given to how certain proteins bind small molecules such as substrates and how the activity of enzymes depends upon the concentration of substrates and the absence or presence of inhibitors. Post-translational modifications of proteins are discussed, in particular glycosylation which leads on to other roles of carbohydrates in biological systems. The structure of lipids and lipid membranes and how some proteins are integrated into lipid bilayers for certain cell functions is described.
You will also learn the basic principles of Physical Chemistry including chemical equilibria & energy, bonds and thermodynamics that are important in understanding how biological systems function from a fundamental perspective.
The module includes practical sessions which will take place in the Centre for Hybrid Biodevices laboratories. You will investigate enzyme kinetics, perform chromatography of amino acids, and use electrophoresis to determine the size of DNA and separate proteins.