Biomolecules (BIOL 221)

Web Site: Spring 2001

This course is really a biological version of an analytical chemistry course where the student is introduced to a number of technological skills involving spectrophotometric analysis, chromatography, and electrophoresis. These skills will be used to extract, separate, and identify a few of the many carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids which are found in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. We will look at the significance of the carbon atom and its role in forming the major building block of these biomolecules. We will become familiar with the "functional groups" on organic molecules which form the amino acid, sugar, fatty acid, and nucleotide monomeric units which, in turn, are responsible for forming the essential macromolecules responsible for the structure and function of living organisms.

The students currently in Biomolecules should check this web page on a regular basis for assignments, special announcements, and for links to web-sites.


This course is required for biology, biology-chemistry, and other selected majors. Students coming into this course are expected to have completed one year of chemistry and one year of biology. Biomolecules has been added to the curriculum to provide a background that will encourage you to have a better understanding of material presented in courses such as cell biology, plant and animal physiology, microbiology and genetics. You will become familiar with the classes of molecules (biomolecules) such as sugars, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids that form the cellular components of living organisms. We have included laboratory exercises that will acquaint you with some of the analytical tools and methods that are a part of a modern molecular biology laboratory.

To facilitate the learning processes employed in the course, the instructors will expect the assigned readings for lecture and laboratory will be done and that attendance will be regular. A great deal of your learning will occur outside of the classroom and this can be accomplished by a systematic review of the reading assignments and lecture notes and answering assigned questions over the lecture and laboratory material. Forming a study-group has been shown to help facilitate the learning process for many individuals. Although we will not be assigning formal study-groups for Biomolecules, we do suggest that you do establish some type of association involving members of this class to discuss readings, to answer questions that are to be turned in, to prepare laboratory write-ups, and to prepare for quizzes and examinations. At times, we may break the class up into groups for certain activities and your established study-group would allow you to work with students that you know and with whom you will feel comfortable working.


David P. Kreps: Office is in S101.
                            Phone No. is 5310.
                            Office hours are posted.

1. Stoker, Stephen, Organic and Biological Chemistry, 1998
2. Wolfe, Cell Structure, 1985, Wadsworth
3. Biomolecules Manual
4. Handouts

1. Lecture: Wednesday and Friday, S-113, 1:00-1:50 p.m.
2. Laboratory: Thursday, S-108; 9:30-12:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

1. Three one-hour examinations (Final included)                        300pts
    (Some laboratory work will be covered on these exams.)
2. Quizzes (unannounced)                                                             100pts
3. Laboratory write-ups                                                                100pts
4. Paper (Details announced in class)                                            50pts

Examinations are scheduled, therefore exceptions will be few. (Going to Florida for Spring Break or going home early are not among the accepted excuses.) Do not expect to make up a missed laboratory if the instructors or laboratory assistants have not been notified in advance.


DATE                                                                    TOPIC                                                        READING

Jan.31                   Introduction to the course and to the carbon atom                               Handouts
Feb. 2                   Classes of hydrocarbons                                                                         Stoker- Ch.1

Feb. 7                   An Introduction to functional groups found in biomolecules                 Stoker (Selected)
                                                                                                                                              Manual  A1-5
Feb. 9                   Special functional groups: alcohols, phenols, ethers, and thiols            Stoker- Ch.3

Feb. 14                 Carbohydrates                                                                                         Stoker-Ch.7
Feb. 16                                                                                                                                 Manual p.A6-8

Feb. 21                  Complex carbohydrates                                                                          Stoker- Ch.7
Feb. 23                  Lipids: fats and oils                                                                                 Stoker- Ch.8

Feb. 28                  Phospholipids and steriods and biolgical membranes                           Stoker- Ch.8
                                                                                                                                              Manual  p.9-13
Mar. 2                   FIRST EXAMINATION

Mar. 7                   Amino acids and peptide bonds                                                              Stoker- Ch.9
                                                                                                                                               Manual p.14-23
Mar. 9                   Primary and secondary structure of proteins                                        Stoker- Ch.9
Mar. 14                 Enzymes and vitamins                                                                            Stoker- Ch.10
Mar. 16                 Enzyme activity and enzyme regulation                                                 Stoker- Ch.10

Mar. 21                                     NO CLASSES
Mar. 23                                  SPRING BREAK

Mar. 28                 Nucleic acids                                                                                          Stoker-Ch. 11
Mar. 30                 SECOND EXAMINATION

Apr. 4                    Nucleic acids: structures of RNA and DNA                                          Stoker- Ch.11
                                                                                                                                            Manual p. A13-28
Apr. 6                    Synthesis of nucleic acids                                                                       Stoker- Ch.11

Apr. 11                 Biochemical energy conversions: metabolic pathways                           Stoker- Ch.12
Apr. 13                 Easter Break

Apr. 18                 Energy Conversions in the cell                                                                Stoker-Ch. 12
Apr. 20                 Carbohydrate: digestion and absorption                                                 Stoker-Ch. 13

Apr. 25                 Cell Structure                                                                                           Wolfe (On Reserve)
Apr. 27                 Cell Structure                                                                                           Wolfe

May 2                  Cell Structure                                                                                            Wolfe
May 4                  Cell Structure                                                                                            Wolfe

May 9                  Class presentations
May 11                Class presentations

May 14-17          FINAL EXAMINATIONS


Feb. 1       Lab sign-in and an introduction to basic analytical techniques

Feb. 8      Testing for sugars, identification of sugars present in fruit juices using thin layer chromotography

Feb. 15     Separation of sugars in germinating seeds and spectrophotometric deter- mination of glucose

Feb. 22     Determination of lipid saturation and separating lipid components of a biological membrane

Mar. 1      Spectrophotometric analysis for cholesterol and the isolation and identification of lipids in grains

Mar. 8      Color tests for amino acids and proteins
                 Construction of an amino acid map using two dimensional TLC
                Partial sequencing of cytochrome-C with carboxypeptidase A (Week 1)

Mar. 15     Spring Break

Mar. 22     Partial sequencing of cytochrome-C with carboxypeptidase A (Week 2)
                  Estimation of protein molecular weight using SDS agarose electrophoresis

Mar. 29     Detection and separation of isoenzymes
                  Measurement of serum proteins using spectrophotometric analysis

Apr. 5        Alkaline phosphatase project (Week 1)

Apr. 12      Alkaline phosphatase project (Week 2)

Apr. 19      Isolation and measurement of bacterial DNA

Apr. 26      Restriction analysis of lambda phage

May 3        Isolation and measurement of RNA from yeast

May 10      Examination of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells


     Laboratory Write-ups

    Class Assignments

     Research Projects

Functional Groups #1
Functional Groups #2

Molecular Models #1
Molecular Models #2
Molecular Models #3

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