Cell Biochemistry

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
BIOL 2421
Cell Biochemistry
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 3 hours/week Tutorial: 1 hour/week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

This course involves three hours a week of classroom instruction and one hour a week of tutorials in which selected problems from the textbook are solved.

Course Description
An introduction to the biochemistry of a cell, including the structural and functional aspects of the micro and macro molecules. Protein structure, enzyme kinetics, and energy pathways will be considered. Some metabolic sequences in the cell will be examined in relation to control mechanisms.
Course Content
  1. An Introduction – What is Biochemistry?
  2. Proteins
    • Water and Acid-Base concepts
    • Amino acids, peptides, and proteins
    • The Henderson-Hasselbalch Equation
    • pH, pK, and pI.
    • Electrophoresis
    • Peptide sequencing
    • Protein structure
    • Titration curves of amino acids and peptides
  3. Globular proteins
    • Myoglobin (Mb) – structure, function, and behaviour
    • Hemoglobin (Hb) – structure, function, and behaviour
    • Major differences between myoglobin and hemoglobin
    • Adult hemoglobin versus fetal hemoglobin
    • The effect of certain metabolites (i.e. H+ ions, CO, and BPG) on hemoglobin
    • Sickle cell anemia and its effect on hemoglobin structure and function
  4. Enzyme Kinetics
    • Enzymes as biological catalysts
    • Reaction rates
    • The specificity of enzymes for their substrates
    • Specific catalytic groups and their contribution to catalysis
    • Substrate concentrations
    • The Michaelis-Menten Equation
    • Lineweaver-Burk plots
    • The meaning of Vmax and Km as they relate to enzymes
    • Reversible and irreversible inhibition
    • The affect of pH on enzyme activity
    • Allosteric enzymes, and how their kinetics differ from those of non-allosteric enzymes
  5. Bioenergetics
    • The Laws of Thermodynamics – a short review
    • Entropy
    • Standard and Actual Free-Energy Change
    • The Equilibrium Constant
    • Coupled reactions
    • Phosphate group transfers and ATP
  6. Catabolism
    • Glycolysis
    • The Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle or Krebs Cycle
    • The Electron Transport System
    • The Glycerol-Phosphate and Malate-Aspartate Shuttle Mechanisms
    • Gluconeogenesis
    • Glycogen metabolism – Glycogen synthesis and Glycogenolysis
    • Other alternative oxidative pathways
    • The effects of hormones on metabolism
    • Integration of metabolism
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of Biology 2421, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the chemistry of water, acid-base properties, and buffers.
  • Describe the chemistry of amino acids.
  • Explain how protein sequence is determined, and describe the structure of peptides.
  • Describe the structure of proteins, especially in terms of how this structure relates to function.
  • Describe what allosteric proteins are, and their importance.
  • Describe the structure, function, and behaviour of hemoglobin and myoglobin.
  • Describe enzyme kinetics.
  • Explain basic bioenergetic principles as they relate to catabolism in the cell – free energy, coupled reactions, nucleotides.
  • Describe the chemistry of carbohydrates – structure and function.
  • Explain in detail the process of cellular respiration – glycolysis, Krebs cycle, electron transport and ATP synthesis.
  • Describe anabolism in the cell in terms of gluconeogenesis.
  • Describe the biosynthesis of macromolecules (specifically polysaccharides) in terms of glycogen synthesis, and describe the degradation of macromolecules in terms of glycogenolysis.
  • Describe metabolic control in the cell and energy charge.
  • Describe regulation in the cell in terms of hormone action.
  • Provide brief descriptions of alternative oxidative pathways – i.e. lipid and fatty acid oxidation, amino acid oxidation, the phosphogluconate pathway.
  • Provide a brief overview of human metabolism in terms of interrelationships between the catabolic and anabolic pathways discussed during the course of the semester.
Means of Assessment
Class tests 10-25%
Two term examinations 30-50%
One final examination 30-40%
Textbook Materials

The student should consult the Bookstore for the latest required course materials or textbook.

Example: Nelson and Cox.  Lehninger – Principles of Biochemistry (6th or current edition).  New York: Worth Publishers.