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Unit of study_

BCMB2002: Proteins in Cells

A single human cell contains billions of protein molecules that are constantly in motion. Why so many? What are they doing? And, how are they doing it? In simple terms, proteins define the function of and drive almost every process within cells. In this unit of study you will learn about the biochemistry of proteins in their natural environment - within cells - with a focus on eukaryotes including plant and other cell types. You will discover the dynamic interplay within and between proteins and other cellular components and how the physical properties of proteins dictate function. You will discover how proteins are compartmentalized, modified, folded, transported in and between cells, the mechanisms by which proteins regulate biological activities, interact and transport molecules across membranes, and how mutations in proteins can lead to pathological consequences. Our practicals, other guided and online learning sessions will introduce you to a wide range of currently utilised techniques for protein biochemistry ranging from protein visualization, quantification, purification and enzymatic activity, to in silico studies and cellular targeting experiments. By the end of this unit you will be equipped with foundational skills and knowledge to support your studies in the cellular and molecular biosciences.

Code BCMB2002
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
6cp of (BIOL1XX7 or MBLG1XXX) and 6cp of (CHEM1XX1 or CHEM1903)
BCHM2071 or BCHM2971 or BCMB2902

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Outline the basic principles and describe in detail the constituent elements of protein structure; attribute these properties to protein and cellular function.
  • LO2. Identify the different types of compartments and other types of organisation within cells and describe the intrinsic properties and specific functions of these organelles and other compartments.
  • LO3. Discuss the movement of proteins inside the cell. Evaluate how these dynamics are achieved and why they are important for cellular function.
  • LO4. Identify the various ways in which proteins can be modified after translation, describe how these modifications are achieved and evaluate how they affect the physical properties of proteins.
  • LO5. Classify the types of communication necessary for cells; differentiate the different ways by which molecules are transported within and between cells.
  • LO6. Compare and evaluate the similarities and differences in biochemical processes between plants and other eukaryotes.
  • LO7. Explain, with examples, the difference between a qualitative and a quantitative measurement; determine which of the different technique should be used, and implement methods to visualize and analyse the structure and function of proteins, in an accurate and reproducible manner.
  • LO8. Adapt, develop and trouble-shoot experimental procedures for novel contexts and requirements.
  • LO9. Assess the quality of data, interpret and draw conclusions from data obtained in the laboratory.
  • LO10. Summarise and identify the key points from topical biochemical data from a number of published sources; synthesise and communicate the findings.