Skip to main content
CODE 58031
SEMESTER 2° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:



Upon completion of the course, the student will:

    know in depth the structure and function of proteins, demonstrating an understanding of how properties influence their function in physiological states and disease;
    know the main types of biochemical reactions that occur within organisms, to explain their mechanisms, energy changes, the role of enzymes and regulatory mechanisms;
    know the main metabolic pathways, their functional significance and regulatory mechanisms and have understood the biochemical specificities of different tissues and the metabolic interactions between organs;
    apply acquired knowledge of general mechanisms of metabolic regulation to explain cellular and organismal responses in response to the action of hormones, during fasting and fed state and their alterations in some disease states used as models (diabetes, cancer cells);
    critically evaluate how biochemical alterations due to disease states can be analyzed through laboratory investigations;
    know how to describe biochemical processes adequately and with correct terminology for identification of molecules.



Teaching includes lectures on topics in structural, metabolic and functional biochemistry that will be given by Professors Bruzzone and Tonetti


Any Student with documented Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), or with any special needs, shall reach out to the Lecturer(s) and to the dedicated SLD Representative in the Department before class begins, in order to liase and arrange the specific teaching methods and ensure proper achievement of the learning aims and outcomes.



Part 1: Structural Biochemistry

    Structure and function of proteins
    Proteins: classification and functions
    Conjugated proteins: hemoglobin
    The quality control of proteins
    Biological catalysts (enzymes): mechanisms of catalysis and classification; enzyme coenzymes and cofactors; enzyme kinetics; enzyme inhibition, with examples of enzyme inhibitory drugs

Part 2: Metabolism and major metabolic pathways

    Metabolism and bioenergetics: ATP, high-energy compounds, the biological reactions of oxidoreduction
    General principles of control of enzyme activities and regulation of metabolic pathways.  The role of allosteric enzymes in the limiting steps of metabolic pathways. Reversible covalent modifications (phosphorylation/dephosphorylation).
    Glucose metabolism:
        glycolysis: functional role, reactions and regulation; aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis;
        gluconeogenesis: functional role, reactions and regulation; role of F2,6BP in the regulation of glycolysis/gluconeogenesis;
        glycogen metabolism: synthesis and degradation pathways, functional role and regulation;
        pentose phosphate cycle: reactions (with formulas), functional role and regulation; reactive oxygen species and defense mechanisms from oxidative stress and genetic defect of G6PD;
        utilization of fructose and galactose
    Pyruvate dehydrogenase: enzymatic role and mechanism (with formulas). Alcoholic fermentation.
    Citric acid cycle: functional role, reactions and regulation
    Cytosol/mytochondrial shuttle systems.
    Oxidative phosphorylation: standard reduction potentials, ΔE and ΔG, the proton gradient, structure and function of respiratory chain complexes, ATP-synthase, mitochondrial thermogenesis.
    Lipid metabolism:
        Triglycerides, digestion and absorption; complex lipid transport through lipoproteins, lipoprotein lipases; lipolysis in adipose tissue
        fatty acid activation and transport in mitochondria; fatty acid oxidation, functional role, reactions, and regulation; degradation of unsaturated and odd-number chain C fatty acids;
        fatty acid synthesis: correlations between mitochondria and cytosol, synthesis reactions, regulation;
        cholesterol synthesis and regulation; cholesterol as a precursor for other molecules;
        glycerophospholipid synthesis, phospholipases and their role in the generation of signal molecules; cyclooxygenases and the synthesis of eicosanoids (hint)
    Ketone bodies: functional role, synthesis reactions and utilization systems in peripheral tissues.
    Amino acid metabolism:
        Metabolic fate of amino groups, transaminases and glutamic dehydrogenase;
        transport of amino groups to the liver: glutamine and alanine-pyruvate cycle;
        urea cycle
    Nucleotide metabolism:
        de novo and recovery synthesis of purine and pyrimidine nucleotides; the formation of diphosphate and triphosphate nucleotides;
        purine degradation and uric acid (hint);
        deoxyribonucleotide formation: ribonucleotide reductase, thymidylate synthase;
        folate cycle; SAM cycle
        metabolism of dinucleotide coenzymes

Part 3: Hormonal regulation and integration of metabolism

    Biosignaling and general characteristics of signal transduction
    Synthesis, release and mechanism of action of insulin and glucagon
    Metabolic effects of extrapancreatic hormones: adrenaline, steroid hormones, thyroid hormones
    Hormonal control of metabolism: effects of insulin, glucagon, steroid hormones, adipokines;
    Blood glucose control, fasting and fed state
    Metabolic interactions between organs
    Hints of the biochemistry of nutrition



All slides used during lectures and other lecture materials will be available on Aulaweb. In general, the notes taken during the lectures and the material on Aulaweb are sufficient for exam preparation.

The book listed below is suggested as a supporting text, but students may still use other college-level Biochemistry texts as well, as long as they are editions published within the last 5 years. Copies of the text are available for reference at the School of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences Library

Nelson DL and Cox MM Lehninger's Principles of Biochemistry, Zanichelli





For lessons start and timetable go to the link:

Please check the module Aulaweb page for timetable updates dependent on the sanitary and epidemic situation

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The examination consists of an oral test. The final grade will be calculated on the basis of the weighted average of the grades obtained in the Biochemistry Propaedeutics (6 CFU), Biochemistry (10 CFU) and Clinical Biochemistry (1 CFU) portions. The Biochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry tests must be taken in the same roll call. Should the student fail one of the two tests, he/she will necessarily have to repeat both at a later appeal.

There will be 3 exam appeals available for the winter session (mid-January- February) and 4 appeals for the summer session (June, July and September). Extraordinary appeals will not be granted outside the periods specified in the course regulations, except for out-of-school students.


Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of depth of each topic will be provided in the course of the lectures.

The oral examination will cover the topics covered in the lectures and will aim to assess not only whether the student has achieved an adequate level of knowledge, but whether he or she has acquired the ability to critically analyze biochemical problems that will be posed in the examination, including from a pathophysiological perspective. The student will also be required to draw the structure formulas of biomolecules and metabolic intermediates, identifying the types of reactions involved and the resulting energy changes. The student will also be required to demonstrate the ability to describe biochemical processes clearly and with correct terminology.