General molecular biology (2008/2009)

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Course code
Name of lecturer
Massimiliano Perduca
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
2° Sem dal Mar 9, 2009 al Jun 12, 2009.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The aim of this course is to give the students the basic knowledge of the molecular mechanisms concerning transmission, variation and expression of the genetic information.


-> Genetic information and informational molecules
General introduction and historical hints. The chemical structure of DNA and RNA. Three dimensional structure of DNA. Physico-chemical properties of DNA.
-> DNA, RNA and gene structure
Definition of gene coding and regulatory regions. From genes to proteins; messenger RNA, transfer RNA and ribosomal RNA.
-> Genome organization and evolution
DNA content and number of genes. Mutations, DNA rearrangement and genome evolution. The organelle genomes. Interrupted genes; introns. cDNA. Gene families and duplication. DNA repeats.
-> Transposable elements 1
Transposition mechanisms and control. Transposons.
-> Chromatin and chromosomes
Nucleosomes, histones and their modifications. Higher organization levels of chromatin. Heterochromatin and euchromatin. Eukaryotic chromosomes, telomeres and centromeres.
-> DNA replication
DNA polymerases. Proofreading activity of DNA polymerases. Replication mechanism in bacteria and eukaryotic cells.
-> Introns and RNA splicing
Features of spliceosomal introns. Spliceosome and splicing mechanism. Alternative splicing and trans-splicing. Other kinds of introns: group I and group II introns and tRNA introns. The intron movement. RNA editing. Ribozymes and riboswitch.
-> DNA mutation and repair
Spontaneous mutations and mutations caused by physical and chemical mutagens. Pre- and post-replicative repair systems. Recombination in the immunity system cells. Approaches to homologous recombination.
-> Regulation of gene expression 1
Eukaryotic promoters. Activators, repressors and coactivators. Gene expression and chromatin modifications. Epigenetic mechanisms.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
WATSON James D., BAKER Tania A., BELL Stephen P., GANN Alexander, LEVINE Michael, LOSICK Richard Biologia molecolare del gene (Edizione 5) Zanichelli 2005 978-8808-17890-9
ALLISON Lizabeth A. Fondamenti di Biologia Molecolare Zanichelli 2008 978-8808-16622-7
LEWIN Benjamin IL GENE Edizione compatta Zanichelli 2006 978-8808-06877-4
LEWIN Benjamin Il Gene VIII Zanichelli 2006 978-8808-17902-9
Harvey Lodish, Chris A. Kaiser, Anthony Bretscher, Angelika Amon, Arnold Berk, Monty Krieger, Hidde Ploegh and Matthew P. Scott Molecular Cell Biology (Edizione 7) Freeman 2012 1464102325

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination