MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in BIOTECHNOLOGY
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
2019/2020
Year: 
2
Academyc year when helding the course: 
2020/2021
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Language: 
Italian
Credits: 
8
Period: 
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
64
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (64 hours)
Requirements: 

For the understanding of the topics covered during the course, knowledge of Biochemistry and Genetics is required and knowledge of the general concepts of Cell Biology is useful

Verification of learning takes place through a written test and is aimed at assessing the achieve-ment of learning outcomes and therefore the level of knowledge and understanding of the theo-retical bases of Molecular Biology and the ability to present the topics covered in the course, us-ing the appropriate scientific terminology. The exam will consist of 4 open questions and 6 mul-tiple choice questions, which will span the entire program. The accuracy and completeness of the information presented in response to the open questions will weigh 90% on the final evalua-tion. The exam result will be out of thirty. The test is considered passed with a vote of at least 18/30. The criteria with which the verification of the acquired knowledge and skills will be car-ried out are: the degree of in-depth exposition of the subject matter of the question, the critical ability to connect and elaborate the knowledges, the clarity of the concepts presented and the propriety of the terminology used. Candidates who have scored 24 or more in the written test may opt for an oral test aimed at improving their grade.

Assessment: 
Voto Finale

The teaching aims to provide solid knowledge of biological systems at the molecular level and in particular, will deal with the processes through which gene information translates into protein products and the complex mechanisms involved in their regulation. The main objective is to provide a solid preparation for understanding the molecular basis of these processes and then continue the path of studies towards more advanced aspects of their biotechnological applica-tions. In this perspective, the planned lessons will also allow students to learn the main research techniques and their applications.
The course is part of the II year (II semester). It will allow the student to integrate the notions acquired in the genetics and biochemistry courses and to understand how to apply them to the modification of biological systems, so as to be able to contribute to research projects and / or application processes in the biotechnological field, in line with the objectives of the CdS.

Learning Outcomes
At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
- explain the molecular details of DNA replication, transcription and translation processes, the mechanisms involved in their regulation and their role at the cellular level;
- illustrate the role of the genetic code as a universal information management system in living beings and the mechanisms for regulating gene expression;
- explain the consequences of alterations and defects in the discussed processes and the mecha-nisms involved in solving them;
- apply the notions learned attending classes to DNA manipulation techniques within a laborato-ry and in the field of biotechnology research;
- communicate with appropriate scientific terminology

The topics covered during the course are the following:
Structural organization levels of DNA and their meaning (chromosomes and chromatin)
Molecular Biology techniques
- preparation, analysis and manipulation of nucleic acids
- cloning, vectors (for cloning and expression), transformation and selection.
- PCR, basic principles, RT-PCR, sequencing.
DNA replication
- replication origins and the replicon model
- DNA polymerase (catalyzed reactions, accuracy and fidelity)
- The replicative fork and the replisome complex
- elongation, termination and their regulation
Mutations, modifications of the bases and chromosomal alterations
DNA Repair Systems
- mismatch repair, direct damage repair, by excision of bases (BER) or nucleotides (NER)
- tolerance mechanisms.
Recombination
- homologous recombination and its role in repairing lesions on DNA.
- site specific recombination
- transposition
Transcription
- molecular mechanisms in prokaryotes (operon concept, RNA polymerase structure / function, promoters and their recognition, process steps)
- molecular mechanisms and eukaryotes (RNA polymerase I, II and III, specific promoters, phases of the process)
- regulation in prokaryotes and eukaryotes (regulatory proteins; negative positive control, enhancers and gene silencers, chromatin remodeling)
Eukaryotic RNA processing and maturation
- capping, polyadenylation and splicing of introns in mRNAs
- hints to post-transcriptional modifications of rRNA and tRNA.
- RNA editing; transport and stability.
Protein synthesis
- tRNA, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase, ribosomes and ribosomal proteins
- the molecular mechanisms (start, elongation, translocation and termination) and the factors involved
- structure, properties and use of the genetic code; Codon-anticodon interaction, adjustment
- post-translational modifications of proteins
Regulation of gene expression
Non-coding RNA; microRNA the RNAi; molecular basis of RNA interference

Slides of the lessons and videos on the processes and topics covered during the course can be downloaded from the Elearning website. In addition, students must complete their preparation using the following recommended texts:
Molecular Biology: principles and techniques, M.M.Cox, Ed. Zanichelli, 2013
Molecular Biology of Gene, J.D. Watson Ed. Zanichelli, 2009
Gene X, B. Lewin, J. E. Krebs, E.S. Goldstein, S.T. Kilpatrick, Ed. Zanichelli, 2012
Fundamentals of Molecular Biology, L.A. Allison, Ed.Zanichelli, 2008
Molecular Biology, R.F. Weaver, Ed. Mc Graw-Hill, 2009

Convenzionale

The course includes lectures: the discussion of the various topics will be carried out through PowerPoint presentations (with slides in English). Videos will be made available among the didactic material to help understand some of the processes and macromolecular systems involved.
To allow students to self-assess their learning level, at the end of each macro-topic a series of multiple choice questions is proposed, which is then discussed during classes (these tests are not considered by the lecturer and will not have weight in the final evaluation).

The lecturer is always available to receive students, preferably by appointment (via requests to the email address silvia.sacchi@uninsubria.it). Prof. Sacchi is also available for in-depth or clarifi-cation meetings for groups of students on the topics covered by the course, that will be sched-uled in the same way.

Professors