Students acquire the knowledge and thinking skills necessary to understand biological problems in a evolutionary perspective. The course will provide students with understanding of the basic molecular mechanisms that operate in living cells, with a focus on the flow of genetic information.





1. Definition of life. Darwinian evolution: variation, heritability and fitness. Origin of life: prebiotic chemistry, RNA world. Gene-centered view of evolution: replicators and vehicles. From molecules from the first cells. From single cells to multicellular organisms. The tree of life. The major transitions in evolution: mutualistic symbiosis and complexity
2. Proteins: structure and functions. Enzymes and biological reactions.
3. Bio-membranes: Structural Organization and Functions. Principles of membrane transport: active/passive transport, carrier proteins, ion channels, electrical properties of membranes.
4. Biological order and energy. Energy for cellular activities. Production of ATP. Structure and function of mitochondria. Glycolysis, Krebs cycle, electron transport chain. The mitochondrial ATP synthase.
5. RNA and DNA structures. DNA replication and repair. The cell nucleus: chromatin structure, epigenetic modifications.
6. Transcription and translation. RNA transcription in prokaryotes. RNA transcription and processing in eukaryotes: mRNA, tRNA, rRNA. The genetic code. Protein synthesis: initiation, elongation and termination .
7. Regulation of gene expression. Control of transcription in prokaryotes: bacterial operons. Control of transcription in eukaryotes. Post-transcriptional and translational regulation. Non-coding RNAs, microRNAs.
8. The genome organization in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Mobile elements. Genome evolution.
9. Endomembrane system: endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi. Protein sorting and glycosylation. Lysosomes. Phagocytosis and Endocytosis.
10. Principles of cell signaling: G Protein–Coupled Receptors. Effectors and second messengers. Receptor Tyrosine Kinases, MAP Kinase Pathways.
11. Eukaryotic cell cycle. Phases of cell cycle. Cyclin-dependent protein kinases (CdKs). Cell cycle checkpoints. S phase. Mitosis. Cytokinesis. Apoptosis.
12. Genetics of cancer. The hallmarks of cancer. Oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Somatic evolution in cancer.

Testi adottati

Suggested Textbooks:
Essential Cell Biology, Fourth Edition. Alberts B. et al. Garland Science.

Modalità di svolgimento

Taught classes during which the students are encouraged to ask questions or further insights on specific topics. Exercises include: 1) development of simple python scripts to mimic key biological process (e.g. transcription, translation) 2) practical exercises such as DNA purifications or simple enzymatic reactions

Modalità di valutazione

During the exam the students will be asked to answer questions on the topics discussed in the course. Students should be able to provide detailed answers using specific terms properly.

Data inizio prenotazione Data fine prenotazione Data appello
01/02/2019 25/02/2019 27/02/2019
01/05/2019 24/06/2019 26/06/2019
27/06/2019 22/07/2019 24/07/2019
01/08/2019 23/09/2019 25/09/2019
01/11/2019 17/12/2019 19/12/2019
01/01/2020 27/01/2020 29/01/2020
Scheda insegnamento
  • Anno accademico: 2018/2019
  • Curriculum: Curriculum unico
  • Anno: Primo anno
  • Semestre: Secondo semestre
  • Insegnamento:
    1049373 - BIOLOGY OF THE CELL
  • SSD: BIO/13
  • CFU: 6
  • Attività formative caratterizzanti
  • Ambito disciplinare: Discipline biotecnologiche con finalità specifiche: biologiche e industriali
  • Ore Aula: 48
  • CFU: 6.00
  • SSD: BIO/13