BSc Medical Biochemistry
Year of entry: 2022
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Course unit details:
Glycobiology: Glycan Function in Health & Disease (E)
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Offered by||School of Biological Sciences|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
Glycans provide important mechanisms for cell recognition, cell adhesion, growth factor signalling and extracellular matrix organisation. You will study the biology and pathobiology underlying processes such as mucosal protection against intestinal parasitic worms, trafficking of immune cells to sites of injury/infection and migration of tumour cells.
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
- BIOL21111 Proteins (Recommended)
- BIOL21162 Chemistry of Biomolecules (Recommended)
The unit will introduce students to the range of structures and cellular mechanisms of synthesis of protein-associated glycans. We aim for students to gain an understanding of the range of biological roles they play in cell and tissue functions in health and disease, and how these can be investigated at an experimental level.
Students will be able to:
• Understand the molecular diversity and widespread expression of protein-associated glycans
• Describe the structure and biosynthesis of the major groups of glycans
• Appreciate how glycosylation modulates the structure, properties and functions of proteins
• Understand the concept that glycans are key factors in biological recognition
• Understand the critical roles glycans play in fundamental cellular processes
· Understand and apply tools for the determination of glycan content and function in biological systems
• Use experimental data to increase their knowledge of glycan structure and function and to enhance their problem-solving and analytical skills
• Structural diversity in glycans, polysaccharides, glycoproteins, proteoglycans.
• Mechanisms of biosynthesis and how manipulating biosynthesis gives insight into glycan function
• The range of biological functions to which glycosylation contributes
• Mucosal protection (innate immunity) against bacteria and parasites
• The Glycocalyx
• Trafficking of immune cells to sites of injury/infection and migration of tumour cells
• Cytoplasmic O-glycosylation, synthesis and function
• Cellular action, location and organization of glycosyltransferase enzymes for O-linked and N-linked glycan biosynthesis
• The role of N-linked glycosylation in protein folding and targeting
• Microbial glycobiology and its role in disease and disease prevention
• Disease models involving gene mutation and knockout in the N-linked glycan biosynthesis pathway
• Critical function of co-translational glycosylation on protein folding and secretion
• Specificity in glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis
• Generation and identification of selective protein binding sequences in glycosaminoglycans
• Roles in growth factor signalling
• Lessons to be learnt from knockouts and mutations
The course will be supported by a Blackboard e-learning module and discussion boards.
- Analytical skills
- Problem solving - either in lecture or online.
- Group/team working
- Answering questions in special problem solving lectures.
- These skills are needed for solving problems.
- Oral communication
- Students answer questions during the lecture and in 'problem solving' lectures.
- Problem solving
- Either in lecture or online.
- Course associated extra reading.
- Written communication
- Essays in final exam.
Feedback will be provided directly via online discussion boards and through comments on directed self-assessments carried out by each student as part of e-learning activities and in-lecture problem solving sessions. A pre-exam 'revision' session provides feedback on past exam questions. Post-exam feedback is offered to each student via a face to face meeting.
No text book covers the entire unit. However, ‘Introduction to Glycobiology’ provides a good general background to many aspects of Glycobiology. ‘Essentials in Glycobiology’ provides more in-depth coverage of some aspects of the course.
Additional references will be given in lectures.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||2|
|Independent study hours|
|David Thornton||Unit coordinator|
For the 2022/23 academic year students will have a 48-hour window to access the exam but students will have 2 hours to complete the exam once they open it, not including any DASS extensions.