Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours), Exercise (16 hours)

A solid background in Cytology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Final Examination: 

The examination, oral only, consists of two questions. The first concerns the organization of the exposure of the content of a lesson, without specific guidance, in order to evaluate the autonomy to make judgments, as well as knowledge and understanding. The second question is more specific and is focused on the analysis of specific problems within a single content, to assess the ability to apply knowledge and understanding.

A partial exam (written) will be scheduled at the end of the cellular biochemistry part. Students with a mark >=18 will be evaluated orally only on the proteomics contents(1 question). The final mark will take into account both performances.

Voto Finale

The main objectives of the course are:
-to understand the mechanisms of biochemical regulation of cell function.
-to acquire knowledge about post-genomic methods in cellular biochemistry.

• Introduction to cellular biochemistry. Course objectives and examination modes
• Protein homeostasis. Protein synthesis. Post-translational translocation. Signal sequences. Intracellular protein trafficking. Quality control. UPS degradation. The secretory pathway. Molecular mechanisms of vesicular trafficking. Coating proteins and clathrin. Proteolytic processing of secreted proteins. Receptor-mediated endocytosis. Synaptic secretion. Autophagy. Exosomes.
• Post-translational modifications. The ability of particular tags to regulate signaling and protein turnover, and to exert dynamic control over protein function in diverse cell biological contexts.
• Membranes and transport. Chemical components of membranes. Peripheral and integral proteins. Lipid rafts. Mechanisms of membrane fusion. Transport processes. Cooperativity and allostery in membrane transporters.
• Cytoskeleton. Three kinds of filaments building the cytoskeleton. Actin filaments: polymerization, dynamics, myosins, cell motility. Intermediate filaments: structure and mechanics. Intermediate filament associated proteins. Microtubules: molecular organization and polarization. Proteins regulating microtubule dynamics. Microtubule organization centers. Motor proteins: Kinesins and dyneins. The mitotic apparatus.
• Integration of cells into tissues. Adhesive junctions. Adhesive proteins. Biochemistry of cell junctions: adherent junctions, desmosomes, hemidesmosomes, tight junctions, gap junctions. The basal lamina. Proteins of the extracellular matrix.
• The mitochondrion. Cell energetics. Mitochondrial biochemistry. Transport towards and across the inner membrane. Glucose and fatty acid metabolism. Biochemistry of the electron transport chain. Calcium ion homeostasis. Apoptosis regulation. Mitophagy. Organelles biosynthesis. Mitochondrial dynamics.
• Biosignaling. Characteristics of a transduction system. Molecular mechanisms of signal recognition. Ligand gated ion channels (e.g., the nicotinic receptor, neuronal signaling). Receptors with intrinsic enzyme activity (e.g., glycogen synthesis). G-protein-coupled receptors (e.g., taste and smell transduction). Receptors linked to soluble kinases (e.g., the erythropoietin receptor). Guanylate cyclase activity and NO-synthase activation. Adhesion receptors. Intracellular receptors.
• Respose to stress. Oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species. Enzymatic control of ROS homeostasis. Iron homeostasis. Lipid oxidation. Protein oxidation. Unfolded protein response.
• Hormone regulation and metabolic control. Molecular aspects of hormone action. Peptide hormones. Catecholamines. Eicosanoids. Steroid hormones. Vitamin D. Retinoids. Thyroid hormones. The neuroendocrine system. Metabolic specialization of tissues: liver, muscle, brain and pancreas. The hypothalamus.
• Post-genomic methods in cellular biochemistry. The principles of the “a posteriori” hypothesis
• Integrated Omics: Transcriptomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics.
• Proteomics approaches and technologies: In-gel and off-gel, quantitative analysis, statistical approaches, databases for protein identification.
• Beyond proteomics. MALDI imaging, MALDI profiling, Metabolomics.

Lab activities:
1)two-dimensional electrophoresis
2)shotgun proteomics

All the presentations, reviews, research articles and relevant material will be loaded on the course e-learning platform.


Only lectures given by the teacher in the presence of students. Seminars by experts in the field will be considered for particular topics. Practical lab activities will close the course (proteomics part).

Every day it is possible to talk with the lecturer (3rd floor via Manara building)after sending an e-mail to tiziana.alberio@uninsubria.it