3 x 50-minute lectures weekly
4 x 50-minute tutorials per semester
1 x 6-hour practical fortnightly
2 x 3-hour computer labs per semester
2 x 2-hour on-line exercises per semester
^ = may be enrolled concurrently
1 BIOL2771 - Biochemistry
2 ^ BIOL2772 - Molecular Biology
Must Satisfy: (1 and 2)
Enrolment not permitted
1 of BIOL8005, BIOL9005 has been successfully completed
Topic description
In this topic students will learn the about the functions of cellular proteins and contemporary approaches that are used for the study and characterisation of proteins. Students will build on concepts introduced at 2nd year level. This topic review the process of protein translation, and then examine the post-translational events that affect the structure, function and cellular location of proteins. Traditional techniques for the study of proteins such as protein purification, electrophoresis, western-blotting and enzyme kinetics will be contrast with more contemporary techniques such as mass spectrometry techniques for identification of entire proteomes and computer based approaches for evaluating protein structure and function.
Educational aims
This topic aims to:

  1. Provide an understanding of the processes that regulate and control the function of cellular proteins with a particular emphasis on how protein structure relates to function
  2. Familiarize students with both experimental and bioinformatic techniques that are used to identify and characterise both individual proteins and entire proteomes
  3. Further develop students' scientific skills for work in a molecular biology laboratory
  4. Further develop students' generic skills in the areas of accurate record keeping (attention to detail), creativity and problem-solving, independence and teamwork, good written and oral communication, critical thinking
Expected learning outcomes
At the completion of the topic, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Explain principles involved in trafficking proteins to different cellular locations
  2. Understand the many different types of post-translational modifications and their functional implications
  3. Explain how and why proteins form complex signal transduction pathways
  4. Explain how protein structures are experimentally determined and analysed
  5. Design a protein purification protocol
  6. Calculate kinetic parameters such as Km, Ki and turnover number
  7. Use tools for characterisation of a protein such as poly-acrylamide gel electrophoresis, western blotting, estimation of protein concentration and enzyme activity assays
  8. Explain the fundamentals of proteome analysis of tissues or cells, and how this technique can play a role in the investigation of the molecular basis of disease
  9. Demonstrate use of bioinformatic tools used in the analysis and prediction of protein sequences structures and interactions
  10. Have further developed the following scientific skills introduced at second year including:
    1. Maintaining a laboratory notebook
    2. Preparing solutions and use laboratory equipment
    3. Designing and execute a protein purification protocol
    4. Developing a laboratory protocol from an article published in a scientific journal
    5. Presenting data in tables and graphs in the format used in articles published in scientific journals

Students are also expected to have further developed the following generic skills including:
  1. Presenting data in tables and graphs
  2. Using Microsoft Office Excel to perform calculations and prepare graphs
  3. Working independently and also in a team
  4. Solving problems by applying existing knowledge to new situations
  5. Communicating in writing
  6. Reading and interpreting scientific literature