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Cell Biochemistry

Course Code: BIOL 2421
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Biology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

The course will provide an introduction to the structure and function of biological molecules. Proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, enzyme kinetics, and energy metabolism will be some of the topics considered. The main metabolic pathways will be examined with emphasis on their regulation and integration with the overall functioning of an organism in various physiological situations.

Course Content

  1. Water
    • Properties of water
    • Acid-base concepts
    • The Henderson-Hasselbalch equation
    • pH, pK, and pI
  2. Protein structure
    • Amino acids, peptides, and proteins
    • Titration curves of amino acids and peptides
    • Protein structure
    • Peptide sequencing
    • Electrophoresis
  3. Protein function
    • Structure, function, and behaviour of myoglobin and hemoglobin
    • Adult hemoglobin versus fetal hemoglobin
    • The effect of metabolites on hemoglobin function
    • Hemoglobin variants
  4. Enzyme kinetics
    • Enzymes as biological catalysts
    • Reaction rates
    • The specificity of enzymes for their substrates
    • Specific catalytic groups and their contribution to catalysis
    • The Michaelis-Menten equation
    • Lineweaver-Burk plots
    • The meaning of Vmax and Km
    • Reversible and irreversible inhibition
    • The effect of pH on enzyme activity
    • Allosteric enzymes
  5. Bioenergetics
    • The Laws of Thermodynamics - a short review
    • Standard and actual free-energy change
    • The Equilibrium Constant
    • Coupled reactions
    • Phosphate group transfers and ATP
  6. Metabolism
    • 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
    • Lipid metabolism - beta-oxidation and fatty acid synthesis
    • Nitrogen transport and the Urea cycle; ubiquination
    • The effects of hormones on metabolism
    • Integration of metabolism

Methods of Instruction

This course involves four hours a week of classroom instruction, including lectures and tutorials in which selected problems from the textbook are collectively solved.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on the following:

Class tests 10-25%
Term project 10-15%
Two term examinations 30-50%
One final examination 30-40%

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 structure and acid-base properties of amino acids.
  • Describe the structure of peptides and proteins, and how their structure relates to function.
  • Explain how protein sequence is determined.
  • Describe what allosteric proteins are, and their importance.
  • Describe the structure, function, and behaviour of hemoglobin and myoglobin.
  • Apply the principles of enzyme kinetics to describe quantitatively the activity and behaviour of enzymes.
  • Explain basic bioenergetic principles as they relate to metabolism in the cell.
  • Describe the structure and function of carbohydrates and lipids.
  • Explain in detail the processes of glycolysis, Krebs cycle, electron transport and ATP synthesis.
  • Describe the process of gluconeogenesis.
  • Describe glycogen synthesis and glycogenolysis.
  • Discuss the role of hormones in the regulation of cellular metabolism.
  • Describe lipid metabolism.
  • Describe nitrogen metabolism.
  • Discuss how catabolic and anabolic pathways integrate in human metabolism.

course prerequisites

(BIOL 1110 and BIOL 1210) or BIOL 1310

and CHEM 2321


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.