Life Sciences

Structural Basis of Biological Function

Module code: C7114
Level 5
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Laboratory, Post lab, Pre lab, Workshop
Assessment modes: Coursework, Unseen examination

This module builds on the topics of protein structure and function relationships introduced by first year modules Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry. Topics covered will include:

  • an introduction to protein structure and folding
  • the methods used to determine high-resolution protein structures
  • protein superfamilies
  • the functional properties of enzymes
  • the methods of analysis for exploring enzyme mechanism
  • how enzyme properties can be modified by protein engineering techniques to produce new enzymes with desirable properties, illustrated using a case study of subtilisin
  • the specificity of small molecule enzyme interactions, illustrated using an example of rationale drug design
  • the role of proteins as transducers of mechanical energy, explored by considering the role of actin and myosin in muscle contraction.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrte an in depth understanding of the principles of protein architecture and the evolution of protein families.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the role of protein structure in controlling protein function.
  • Describe the mechanism of protein folding, the role of post-translational modifications and the structure of molecular chaperones and motors.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the acquisition of relevant quantitative laboratory results and process and the evaluation of data with appropriate graphical tools.