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Principles of Biochemistry 1 and 2

MEDS 4027 | 3 credit hours | Fall Semester  |  Syllabus (PDF)

MEDS 4028 | 3 credit hours | Spring Semester | Syllabus (PDF)

TR 4:30 – 5:55 PM Mostly Only via Webex

Michael Lieberman, PhD | | 513-558-5645

Principles of Biochemistry is a two-part sequence that provides a comprehensive tour of biochemistry and human disease. Organic Chemistry is a prerequisite to both courses in the series, and Principles of Biochemistry 1—taught in the fall semester— is a prerequisite to Principles of Biochemistry 2—taught in the spring semester.

Principles of Biochemistry 1 will introduce to the class the structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids. In addition, the biosynthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins will also be discussed. The objective is to understand how these large molecules are regulated and used physiologically. The class begins with a discussion of protein structure and protein folding. Proteins perform the majority of functions within a cell. Mutations in proteins frequently lead to disease. In order to understand these diseases it is important that the function of the protein is understood, at a molecular level. 

The environment plays a critical role in how a protein folds and behaves, thus considerable time will be spent discussing the properties of water, and how water's properties help to drive the folding of proteins into their final structure. Once protein folding is understood the class will examine the hemoglobin molecule in detail, to understand how different protein subunits can communicate with each other and aid in a physiological function, the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.

After the discussion of hemoglobin, we will move to the topic of enzyme kinetics, mechanisms, and modes of regulation of enzyme activity. Enzymes catalyze all the reactions that occur in cells, and over 99% of the enzymatic activity in cells is due to proteins. Thus, to understand the biochemical reactions that occur within cells, it is important to understand how the enzymes work, at a molecular level. Of particular importance in this section is how enzyme activity is regulated. 

Frequently different enzymes will catalyze reactions that go in opposite directions. If both enzymes were active at the same time a futile cycle would be developed, and a reaction pathway would not be able to go in the direction intended. The regulation of enzyme activity will prevent this from occurring. Once enzymes are understood we will end the quarter discussing the function of DNA and RNA, and the biosynthesis of these large polymers. Enzymes are important in the synthesis of these information-containing molecules, and having the background in enzymes will enable our discussion of nucleic acids to go at a rapid pace. Protein synthesis (translation) will also be discussed, as will molecular techniques aimed at understanding gene expression.

Principles of Biochemistry 2 begins with a brief review of transcription and translation, then tackles the topic of gene regulation. Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene regulation will be discussed, including modern methods to study this problem. We will then move to a discussion of membranes, and membrane components, followed by carbohydrate structure and an introduction to metabolism. The rest of the semester will explore various pathways in metabolism, including glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, the Krebs tricarboxylic acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, the hexose monophosphate shunt pathway, the synthesis and degradation of glycogen, the synthesis and degradation of fatty acids, amino acid metabolism and the urea cycle, and the synthesis and degradation of purines and pyrimidines. Diseases relevant to these pathways will be emphasized, as will the relationships between different pathways and the complex regulatory events that ensure that appropriate pathways are activated, and inactivated, under various conditions.

Examples of metabolic diseases that will be discussed include diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), galactosemia, oxphos disorders, glycogen storage diseases, carnitine deficiency, medium-chain acylCoA dehydrogenase deficiency, severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID), phenylketonuria (PKU), and ornithine transcarbamoylase deficiency.


Jeremy M Berg, John L Tymoczko, Lubert Stryer (2012) Biochemistry, 7e, W. H. Freeman, New York
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4292-2936-4
E-Book ISBN: 978-1-4292-3129-9
On Reserve at the Health Sciences Library—Call number QU 4 S928b 2012


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