Molecular recognition - BIO00078H

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Michael Plevin
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

The interaction of biomacromolecules is fundamental to myriad biochemical processes. This module will explore the basis of biomolecular recognition, focusing on how proteins interact with nucleic acids, other proteins, carbohydrates and membranes, placing these in context of biological functions. Core concepts in biomolecular association will be addressed, ranging from thermodynamic and kinetic descriptions of interactions to the role of 3D structure in recognition. Across the module, these fundamental principles will be discussed in the context of a variety of biological systems, for example, transcriptional regulation, signal transduction, RNA silencing and membrane trafficking.

A strong emphasis will be placed on the experimental approaches used to investigate biomolecular interactions and recognition. Lectures will be based on primary literature examples and formative workshops will develop skills for interpreting data from a variety of techniques and designing experimental strategies.

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

The interaction of biomacromolecules is fundamental to myriad biochemical processes. This module will explore the basis of biomolecular recognition, focusing on how proteins interact with nucleic acids, other proteins, carbohydrates and membranes, placing these in context of biological functions. Core concepts in biomolecular association will be addressed, ranging from thermodynamic and kinetic descriptions of interactions to the role of 3D structure in recognition. Across the module, these fundamental principles will be discussed in the context of a variety of biological systems, for example, transcriptional regulation, signal transduction, RNA silencing and membrane trafficking.

A strong emphasis will be placed on the experimental approaches used to investigate biomolecular interactions and recognition. Lectures will be based on primary literature examples and formative workshops will develop skills for interpreting data from a variety of techniques and designing experimental strategies.

Module learning outcomes

1: Demonstrate understanding of the basic structural features of protein-target complexes, the role that solvent plays in recognition, and how conformational changes, modularity, symmetry, intrinsic disorder and structural plasticity can influence binding affinity and specificity.

2: Appreciate the importance of integrating structural, kinetic, thermodynamic, high-throughput and bioinformatics approaches to obtain a holistic view of biomolecular recognition mechanisms in a target system.

3: Describe common biochemical and biophysical techniques for the study of molecular recognition in vitro and in vivo, interpret data obtained using these techniques, and design experimental strategies using an appropriate combination of these techniques.

4: Explain, using specific examples, the structural basis of sequence-specific and sequence-independent DNA and RNA recognition by different protein superfamilies.

5: Appreciate how fundamental knowledge of molecular recognition is applied to the design of small molecule modulators of protein-protein or protein-nucleic acid interactions and their use as novel therapeutics

6: Examine and evaluate experimental design, data and conclusions in primary literature studies of mechanisms of molecular recognition.

 

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Molecular Recognition
2.5 hours 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Molecular Recognition
2.5 hours 100

Module feedback

Cohort-level feedback will be provided on performance in closed exams and made available via the VLE. Histograms of module marks will be posted on the notice boards outside the Biology Student Services office. Individual marks will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Exam scripts will be made available at the end of either the Spring or Summer terms. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

 

During the teaching of the module you will receive feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Forms of feedback may include: model answers and discussion of workshop questions, summaries of performance in practicals, VLE-based quizzes, individual spoken comments during workshops, individual written comments on formative work.  

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.