Stockholm university
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Biochemistry III- Proteins from gene to function

The life and death of a protein. This course presents proteins from a broad perspective.


Proteins are responsible for most activities in a cell. For example, they synthesise DNA, RNA, proteins and lipids, they facilitate the uptake of essential nutrients and ions, generate cellular energy and help the cell divide.

Proteins that fail to function, through genetic mutations, are the cause of a number of diseases. And protein-based drugs are often a solution to treat these diseases.

This course provides a deeper understanding of proteins, by studying their life and ultimately their death. We marvel at the birth of a protein on the ribosome, admire the complexities of its journey through the cell and are amazed at the intricacies of its folding and assembly into a functional unit. We also explore how it functions to carry out biochemical processes. We investigate the way that a protein is degraded so that the cycle can be repeated. Along the way you receive grounding in important methodologies to study proteins. The knowledge acquired is used to understand the molecular basis for protein-based diseases. It is also used to understand how protein-based drugs can be developed to treat these diseases.

  • Course structure

    The course consists of several lectures and three laboratory practicals. There is also a literature assignment, where students work together in small groups to investigate a contemporary, front-line area of biochemical research. Details about these activities are described below.


    Theory (7.5 ECTS)

    Laboratory Exercises and Literature Project (7.5 ECTS)

    Teaching format

    Lectures are given 9-12.00 or 13-16.00. The lectures are designed to provide students with an introduction to the area. It is expected that the students supplement lectures with reading (suggested by the lecturer).

    Lab practicals
    There are three practicals in the course. These practicals are linked to the lectures and are designed to give you ‘hands on’ experience in protein chemistry. The practicals are compulsory. A separate schedule for practicals is handed out during the course (once class numbers are known).

    • Practical 1: Computer analysis of protein 3D structure
    • Practical 2: Insertion of proteins into membranes
    • Practical 3: Assembly of proteins into complexes

    Written laboratory reports should be submitted through Athena (Resources/Innehåll -> Labs) no later than 2 weeks after the lab has been completed. The lab instructors will provide feedback and corrections on these reports. The reports should be approved no later than 3 weeks after the course has finished.

    Group work
    The group work is designed to develop (1) the students’ self-learning skills, (2) their ability to work in groups, and (3) their ability to present scientific concepts. All of these skills are important in the workplace.

    Students are divided into small groups and given an exciting and contemporary area of protein biogenesis to investigate. The group is then expected to delve into the primary scientific literature and write a single report, which will be circulated to the class. They are also expected to present a seminar to the class and answer questions. The scope of the projects is usually quite broad, but nevertheless the groups are encouraged to focus on molecular details and mechanisms.


    Students are assessed on three activities:

    1. Group work

    Students are given a grade for their written report (5% of the course) as well as a grade for the oral presentation (5% of the course). There are also questions in the exam related to these projects (10% of the course)

    2. Laboratory practicals

    Attendance at all labs is a requirement to pass the course and the reports must be completed within the designated time frame.

    3. Theory
    There is a final exam consisting of short questions that are designed to assess the students’ knowledge of material covered in the lectures (80% of the course). There are also three questions on the material covered in the group works; you will be asked to answer two of these questions.


    Daniel Daley
    +46 8 162910

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Lehninger: Principles of Biochemistry, 5th, 6th or 7th ed., Nelson & Cox

    Articles and handouts given by the lecturers


  • Course reports

  • Contact



    Course coordinator and examiner
    Chemistry Section & Student Affairs Office