General Biochemistry A



After the course it is expected that the students know the basic structural features of the major biological macromolecules and understand the physical-chemical principles underlying the relationship between structure and function. The students should also understand the strategy, regulation, and bioenergetics of the central metabolic pathway. It is expected that the students apply the concepts developed in the lectures to the analysis of experimental results obtained in the laboratory classes and to problem solving.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Alice Santos Pereira


Weekly - 4

Total - 64

Teaching language



Strongly recommended a basic background of organic chemistry and general chemistry.


Main references

Nelson, D.L., & Cox, M.M.
W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco, 7th ed., 2017

Voet, D., Voet, J.G. & Pratt, C.W.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 5th ed., 2016

Berg, J.M., Tymoczko, J.L., & Stryer L.
W. H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco. 8th ed., 2015

Berg, J.M., Tymoczko, J.L., & Stryer L.
W. H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco. 3rd ed, 2015


Teaching method

The course is organized in lectures, laboratory classes and workshops. The students must apply the concepts developed in the lectures to the analysis of the experimental results obtained in the laboratory and to problem solving in the workshops.

Evaluation method

The final grade will be calculated according to the following formula:

Final grade = 0.35 x Grade Questionnaires + 0.65 Grade Individual tests 

Students will pass the discipline with a grade greater than or equal to 9.5 points.

I. Frequency

Mandatory frequency of the 5 practical sessions (3 laboratory and 2 online)

The punctuality of the student, the preparation of practical classes, the execution of experimental work, will contribute to obtaining the frequency

II. Evaluation of the component T

1. Continuous distance assessment

  • 5 questionnaires (Q1 to Q5) for group resolution; eliminating the lowest grade. 
  • 2 individual online tests (Test1 and Test2). Students will pass  with a mean grade of the 2 tests greater than or equal to 8.0 points.

The questionnaires will have a duration of 20 to 30 min and the individual tests 60 min.

2. Evaluation by final exam


Important notes:

  1. The marks of all elements of evaluation will be rounded up to the decimal; the grades of each component will be included in the final classification formula, also rounded to the decimal.
  2. Students who have not passed continuous assessment are admitted to the final exam. To be successful, the classification in this exam must be equal to or greater than 9.5.
  3. Improvement of the final classification is made in the final exam and only for the T component.

In any case, the Responsible of the UC reserves the right to make an oral exam, for final approval, to any student enrolled in the discipline.

Subject matter

4.  Summary of the lectures:

1- Introduction to Biochemistry (Biological structures, metabolic pathways, expression and transmission of genetic information).
2- The amino acids properties: peptide bonds - Classification and characteristics. Acid-base properties
3- Levels of protein structure organization: primary, secondary (alpha helices, beta sheets and other structural elements), tertiary and quaternary structures. Protein isolation, purification and sequencing.
4- Fibrous proteins (Keratin, silk, collagen) and globular protein (Myoglobin and hemoglobin)
5- Structure-function mechanisms in the hemoglobin.
6- Enzyme kinetics Inhibition and regulation.
7- Enzyme mechanisms: Lisozima, Ribonuclease, Carboxipeptidase, Quimotripsina.
8- Carbohydrates (Classification and function). Monosaccharides and structural and storage polysaccharides (cellulose, chitin, starch and glycogen). Glycoproteins (Proteoglycans and glycosylated proteins).
9- Biological Membranes: structure and dynamic. Biological transport: Passive-mediated transport, active-transport. Ion channels, Uniport, symport, and antiporte systems.
10- Nucleic acids (RNA and DNA): structure and function. Denaturation and Renaturation of nucleic acid. Restriction endonucleases: the chain- terminator method of DNA sequencing and Manual sequencing. Recombinant DNA technology. PCR and site-directed mutagenesis techniques.
11- Metabolism (Catabolism and anabolism) and Bioenergetics: Glycolysis, lactic and alcoholic fermentation, Citric acid Cycle, electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation.
12 – Photosynthesis.

Problem-solving sessions:
1 -Amino acid and Proteins – Acid-base properties
2 - Structure polypeptides and proteins.
3 - Enzyme kinetics
4 - Nucleic acids. Biological membranes.
5 – Metabolism

Laboratory sessions :

1 – Amino acid titrations
2 – Separation of biological compounds by chromatography
    A – Gel filtration
    B – Ionic Chromatography
3 – Enzymatic characterization of Fusarium graminearum beta-glucosidas

4 - Protein determination