School of Medicine
University of Patras
>University of Patras
Undergraduate Courses

Biochemistry III

Semester 3rd ()

Code MED_331

Hours Teaching 3 hours, Laboratory - Tutorial 3 hours (per week)



1. Heme and Iron Metabolism

  • Heme biosynthesis and degradation

  • Disorders of Heme metabolism

  • Iron homeostasis

2. Protein degradation and amino acid metabolism

  • Proteindegradation. Ubiquitination, proteasome.

  • Origin, transportation and amino acid balance. Metabolic fate of the amino group: deamination, transamination, urea cycle.

  • Metabolic fate of the carboxyl group and the backbone of the amino acids.

  • Biosynthesis of essential and non-essentia amino acids.

  • Biochemical basis of genetic disorders of amino acid metabolism.

  • Folic acid and co-enzymes: structure and mechanisms of action

  • The HS-adenosyl methionine, as a means of methylation.

3. Nucleotide METABOLISM

  • Nucleotide biosynthesis and degradation: Mechanisms and regulation.

  • Biochemical basis of deregulation of nucleotide metabolism.

  • Chemotherapy with nucleotide antimetabolites.

4. Flow of the genetic information

  • DNA replication. Enzymes of replication- mechanisms. Point mutations, transitions, transversions, replication inhibitors

  • DNA transcription. Initiation, elongation and termination. Inhibition of RNA biosynthesis. Post-transcriptional processing. RNA interference. Ribozymes, Riboswitches

  • Protein biosynthesis. Activation of amino acids. Transfer RNA. Structure and function of Ribosomes. Initiation, elongation and termination of polypeptide chain biosynthesis. Regulation of protein biosynthesis. Post-translational modifications of polypeptides. Protein-synthesis inhibitors. Protein biosynthesis and cancer.


  • Caloric homeostasis. The key role of the brain in the caloric homeostasis.

  • Obesity and diabetes. Exercise and biochemical changes. Metabolic changes originating from nutritional habits.

  • The role of ethanol in liver function.


  • Regulation of inducible gene expression in eukaryotes (regulatory DNA motifs/chromatin structure and remodeling/ types of transcription factors)

  • Epigenetic factors and gene expression.

  • The role of RNA in gene expression


  • Structure and function of immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulin gene rearrangement and class switch.

  • T cell subsets. Surface receptors of phagocytes and lymphocytes.

  • Transplantation or histocompatibility reactions (MHC and HLA).

  • Monoclonal antibodies. Antibodies that catalyze chemical reactions (catalytic antibodies).


  1. Measurement of total and direct bilirubin in serum.

  2. Measurement of urea and uric acid in serum.

  3. Studying ribosomal biosynthetic capacity of E.coli measuring the incorporation of Phenylalanine into Poly(U) programmed ribosomes.


The course deals with the metabolism of haem and iron, proteins, amino acids and nucleotides. It also deals with the flow of genetic information with particular emphasis on DNA replication, DNA transcription, protein biosynthesis and the regulation of gene expression. The final module of Biochemistry III focuses on the biochemical basis of the immune responses. The course aims to provide an holistic view of metabolism and the mechanisms controlling and coordinate the metabolic pathways, including hormonal regulation.

Following completion of the course, the students should be able to:

  1. Comprehend the organization, coordination and regulation of anabolic and catabolic pathways and their deregulation in pathological conditions. Associate laboratory measurements of key biochemical markers, used for the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases, with potential defects in metabolic pathways and utilize them for clinical diagnostic and therapeutic decision making.

  2. Recognize fine, yet essential, differences in the process of protein synthesis between bacteria and humans and how widely used antibiotics affect each system.

  3. Become familiar with new developments in the field of “gene expression regulation” and the emergence of diseases, with particular focus on the roles of small and large regulatory RNAs.

  4. Understand the importance of epigenetic changes in the expression of genes responsible for metabolism

  5. Recognize the importance of the immune system and the orchestration of the immune response.

  6. Conduct laboratory-based experiments, utilized for diagnoses and interpret the data.

  7. Be kept updated with new developments in the field and the international bibliography.

  8. To use the knowledge and understanding they acquired for the construction of educated arguments, effective trouble shooting and an overall professional approach towards their respective fields.

  9. Be able to gather and interpret relevant information within their field of knowledge and to make decisions after consideration of relevant social, scientific and ethical issues.

  10. Be able to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions of both qualified and non-specialized audiences.

Reading Material

  1. BergJ.M., TymoczkoJ.L. andStryerL. Biochemistry 8th edition, 2015 W.H. Freeman and Company.

  2. BaynesJ.W., DominiczakM.H. Medical Biochemistry, 4th edition, Saunders (2014).ΒιοχημείαL. Stryer, 8th