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BSc Biochemistry / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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Course unit details:
Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that occur in living organisms to maintain life. You will focus on the metabolic pathways in the cells of mammals, with some reference to microbes and plants. You will learn about diseases caused by defects in metabolism, such as diabetes, which will emphasise the importance of metabolic control.
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
To provide students with an understanding of the essential features of cellular metabolism, and the mechanisms through which metabolism is controlled. This will be achieved using specific examples and model situations to illustrate principal regulatory mechanisms. Diseases caused by defects in metabolism will be studied to emphasise the importance of metabolic control. The course will focus on mammalian systems, with some reference to plants and microbes.
Students will be able to:
- Describe the key features of cellular metabolism, including central catabolic and anabolic pathways.
- Describe the main mechanisms through which metabolic pathways are controlled and how control occurs on multiple levels.
- Explain how different control mechanisms may be integrated to coordinate cellular metabolism, with reference to specific examples.
- Discuss how metabolism is coordinated in mammals, and explain how disturbances in metabolism contribute to disease.
1. Principles of metabolic control and control mechanisms
Overview of metabolism: functions and end-products, anabolism and catabolism, energy metabolism; concepts of metabolic control.
Control mechanisms: levels of control, isoenzymes, branched and linear pathways, allostery, control by covalent modification, control of enzyme level.
2. Regulation of core metabolism
Carbohydrate metabolism: long-term regulation of glucose utilisation, enzyme-level control of glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, links to fatty acid metabolism, glycogen turnover, sugar interconversions and the citric acid cycle.
Lipid metabolism: regulation of fat mobilisation, lipoprotein metabolism, fatty acid oxidation, lipid synthesis, links to glucose metabolism, ketones.
Amino acid metabolism: control of protein turnover, nitrogen handling, links to nucleic acid metabolism, amino acid oxidation, integration with citric acid cycle.
Metabolism in plants: starch/sugar metabolism and fermentation for biofuels, storage lipid biosynthesis: regulation and applications.
3. Integration and adaptation of metabolism
Metabolic states and signals, tissue cooperation, adaptation of metabolism to physiological/pathological situations (feeding-starvation, diabetes, obesity).
- Online quiz (exam-style short answer questions).
- eLearning modules (contributing 10 % of the final mark). Scenario-based problems will be used to develop skills in applying knowledge gained from lectures to unfamiliar situations.
- Discussion forums will be open for each topic. to encourage dialogue between students and teaching staff.
- End of course quiz and revision session.
- Analytical skills
- ePBL involves analysis of experimental data. Lecture material incoroporates students to primary sources and data.
- Problem solving
- ePBL as above.
- Written communication
- Essay questions in exams
• In semester test (25%). Blackboard test composed of multiple choice, short answer, fill in blank questions during the semester.
• elearning module (5%). Online problem-based learning module testing material covered in unit and application of knowledge to interpret experimental data.
• Written examination (70%). Remote synchronous exam taken at the end of the unit. Answer one essay question from a choice.
• Written formative feedback on practice essay.
• Practice elearning module will provide formative feedback.
• Online quiz will provide formative feedback (model answers provided upon completion).
• Summative elearning module will provide feedback for incorrect answers.
• Students will be encouraged to ask questions at interactive sessions and will receive direct feedback from staff both in person and via online forums.
1. Nelson, DL & Cox, MM, Lehninger: Principles of Biochemistry (7th edition), W H Freeman 2017. eTextbook available to all students through the BlackBoard Unit.
Frayn, KF, Metabolic Regulation: A Human Perspective (3rd edition), Portland Press, 2010
Review articles and commentaries as recommended by the lecturers.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Eileithyia Swanton||Unit coordinator|
Study hours and assessment methods are to be confirmed before the start of term