CHEM 325

Biochemistry I: Biomolecule Structure and Function

3 Undergraduate credits
Effective January 12, 2015 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

This course is the first of two-semester biochemistry lecture sequence and part of three lecture-lab biochemistry series. The series broadly cover the study of chemical processes in living organisms. In this course, the emphasis is on the structure and function of biomoleculesparticularly proteins and nucleic acid. Topics covered include structure and function of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleotides and nucleic acids; biosignaling pathways and signal transduction; biological membranes and the mechanism of protein transporters; acid-base chemistry and how it applies to enzyme mechanism; and, enzyme kinetics and coenzyme structure and function.


Special information

Note: First day attendance required except by instructor permission.

Learning outcomes


  • Know the chemical properties of the naturally occurring 20 amino acids
  • Explain and sketch the periodic arrangements of secondary structures within a protein fold
  • Understand the packing of secondary structures to form tertiary structures
  • Use analysis of hydrophobic interactions and properties of water and how they influence protein folding in solution and in membranes
  • Distinguish and explain negative and positive cooperativity and allosteric interactions
  • Review the properties of buffers and the concept of pH and how solution pH influences protein stability and enzyme kinetics
  • Know the basics of enzyme kinetics and, using simple examples, mathematically describe enzyme-catalyzed reactions and the derivation of their key constants
  • Generalize the concept of a titration to biochemical measurement
  • Know how changes in pH, temperature, salt, and detergent influence protein stability
  • Understand how enzyme activity is measured and the fundamentals of enzyme assays
  • Know the mechanisms of enzyme inhibition and the differences between competitive, non-competitive, and uncompetitive inhibitors
  • Describe the structure and properties of nucleotides and nucleic acids, taking advantage of insights provided by organic chemistry
  • Know the structure and function or carbohydrates, lipids, and fatty acids
  • Use insights from organic chemistry to describe protein structure, carbohydrate and nucleic acids, and how functional groups effect their chemical properties
  • Recognize and use Michaelis-Menten kinetic scheme