2023-2024 / BIOC9238-1

General biochemistry, including the basis of molecular biology


35h Th, 10h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in dentistry6 crédits 
 Bachelor in medicine6 crédits 


Bernard Rogister

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Teacher : B. ROGISTER, Professor
The aim of biochemistry is the complete understanding at the molecular level of all the chemical processes associated with living cells. This is mainly achieved by isolating molecules and understanding their structure and their function. The field of biochemistry is as vast as life itself, as chemical reactions take place wherever life exists. Biochemists study the chemical reactions and changes which take place in micro-organisms, plants, fish, insects, lesser and superior mammals like human beings. Biochemical knowledge of other forms of life is directly relevant to a global understanding of the biochemistry of human beings. For example, current theories on the regulation of gene and enzyme activity come from earlier studies of bread yeast and bacteria. Like general physiology, general biochemistry demonstrates the integrated unity of living beings. This course is devoted to the understanding of the organism's molecular structure, of the notion of metabolic sequences, of the rules governing the integration of these sequences, of the general basics of cell energy, of the source of inter-cellular free energy, and finally, of the biochemical tissue specialization. Examples illustrating taught concepts will be specifically chosen to introduce the student to human biochemistry.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

General objectives :
To describe the general properties of molecules composing the living species.
To give a clear and structured information about the chemical reactions within the cell.
To analyse the relationships between these different molecules.
To explain how the cell structure is maintained and expanded or how the cell can achieve a particular function.
To allow the students to understand the biochemical basis of general physiology and human physiology and biochemistry.
To exert the critical thinking of students by pro or contra demonstrations on different subjects or debate some not yet verified hypothesis. Specific objectives :
1. To describe the general properties of the molecules of living beings : carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, heterocycles (co-enzymes, vitamins, nucleosides, ...)
2. To known the basics of the classical enzymology (kinetics, enzyme classification, reaction mechanisms, ...).
3. To remember the basics of thermodynamic laws and to apply them to specificities encountered in the living world: high energy molecules, the coupling reactions, ... .
4. To explain the general organization of the main metabolic pathways in cells by integrating them each others and to outline the basics of the controls of metabolic pathways.
5. To describe in details the cellular catabolic reactions leading to the synthesis of high-energy molecules.
6. To describe in details anabolic pathways leading to the synthesis of nucleotides, nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates.
7. To apply and to integrate those concepts in the mechanisms of muscle contraction

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

First year courses in physics, chemistry (more precisely, organic chemistry) and biology. To prepare students to the study of human biochemistry, general ou cellular physiology, human physiology and pathology.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Lectures will be ex cathedra. It is nevertheless possible (but unlikely) that depending on the evolution of the health situation, some courses will be given remotely using a POD-CAST system.

Laboratory work sessions will be organized and two students will work together in a one single day session. This session will be preceded by a specific two-hours lecture. This laboratory work is devoted to manipulation of proteins : chromatography, protein assay, enzyme activity assays and gel electrophoresis. Supervision of sessions will performed by one or two supervisors (assistants), two to three older students and one technician. Each group of students will give back a report for the group within eighth days following the session. At the end of the semester, a global correction of the report ("back session") will be organized aas a special lecture and will be focused on the observed errors repeatedly present in submitted reports. There will be no exam of practical work but part of the final exam (January or September) will focus on the topic of practical works for all students (see hereunder). The note of the evaluation will not distinguish the theoretical part of the practical part. Attendance at tutorials of practical work is compulsory for students enrolled for the first time in General Biochemistry. In case of unauthorized absence, the penalty will be 1 point on the final outcome of the exam.  The document justifying the absence of the student must be sent to the educational office within 5 working days after the date of the session. If possible, the student must then join another group to carry out this practical work session later. To this end, he will contact one of the three associates whose names appear at the base of this form.

For the students to represent the exam of General Biochemistry, they can again follow the session of practical work, this on a voluntary basis and after registration at the beginning of the academic year. Once enrolled, they then commit to be present at the practical work session and will be subject to the same organizational rules as the students following for the first time the course of General Biochemistry.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

1: Introduction to chemical reactions in a living cell.
1. Chemistry, Energy and Metabolism
2. Enzymes
2: Structure of proteins and cell membranes.
3. Protein structure
4. Cell Membranes
3: Metabolism
5. Biochemical mechanisms of nutrient transport and storage
6. Energy release from nutrient oxidation
7. Glycolysis, Krebs'cycle, electron transport in mitochondria.
8. Energy release from lipids
9. Fatty acids and lipids synthesis
10. Neoglucogenesis
11. Pentoses cycle
12. Amino acids metabolism
13. Nucleotides metabolism and synthesis.
4. Information storage and use.
14. DNA and genome organization
15. DNA synthesis, reparation and recombination.
16. Transcription
17. Protein synthesis and targeted destruction.
5. Cellular mechanical work.
18. Muscular contraction
19. Cytoskeletton, molecular motors and intracellular transport.

Recommended or required readings

Syllabus is available at Presses Universitaires at a low price. Students will be able to get a written or an electronic syllabus (available on intranet) on September, the 15th. They will have also the possibility to download illustrations given during lectures after each lectures. The lectures themselves will be recorded and easy available in Intranet (pod-cast). Students can send evenutally questions on a forum on a University web site.  Students will have the opportunity to answer to thse questions.  Professor or assistant professors will take part of this discusion if required.  By this way, every students can take part of discussions.

Text-books of recent edition can also be useful but they are not necessary. A non exhaustive list (editing years are not mentioned in order to emphasize that it is imperative to choose the most recent edition of investing in one of these books):

- Harper's Review of Biochemistry, par D.W. Martin, P.A. Mayer et V.W. Rodwell ; Lange medical Publications, Los Altos.

- Biochemistry, par A.L. Lehninger ; Worth Publischers, Inc. ; New York (il existe une traduction française).

- Biochemistry, par L. Stryer ; W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco.

- Biochemistry. A functional Approach, par R.W. Mc Giltery et G. Goldstein, Saunders Compagny, Londres.

- Biochimie. D. Voet et J. G. Voet. De Boeck Université.

- Fundamentals at Biochemistry, life at the molecular level, D. Voet, J.G. Voet, C.W. Pratt, Wiley. 

- Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical correlations, Thomas M. Devlin, Wiley Liss.

- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ; W.H. Elliott and D.C. Elliott, Oxford University Press.

- Mark's basic medical biochemistry, C. Smith, A.D. Marks, M. Lieberman, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

- Cell Biology, T.D Pollard and W.C. Earnshaw, Saunders

- Atlas de Poche de Biochimie, J. Koolman et K.H. Röhm, Médecine-Sciences-Flammarion.

- Biochimie et Biologie moléculaire, P. Kamoun, A. Lavoine et H. de Verneuil, Médecine-Sciences, Flammarion

- Biochimie Illustrée, P.N. Campbell, A.D. Smith, Maloine.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire )

Additional information:

Written exam (multiple choice questions True/False) will cover the theoretical aspects as well some aspects developed during laboratory work sessions. The correction is +1 for each correct reponse, 0 for the absence of response et -1 for an uncorrected response. Part of the exam will be directly related to the practical work session. 

Written exams are organized in June and September.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Adress :
Bernard Rogister,
Full Professor

Department of biomedical sciences and preclinics 
C.H.U. Bât. B36
avenue Hippocrate, 15
4000 Liège 1

Phone : 32 4 3665950
E-mail : Bernard.Rogister@uliege.be

Sabine Wislet
Assistant Professor
Tel ULg 32 4 366 38 04
E-mail : S.Wislet@uliege.be

Laurence Delacroix
Assistant Professor
Tél. Ulg 32 4 366 59 05
Couriel : ldelacroix@uliege.be

Christelle Péqueux
Assistant Professor
Tél. Ulg 32 4 366 22 17
Couriel : C.Pequeux@uliege.be

Larisia Bourdoux
Tel ULg : 324 366 59 50
E-mail : Larisia.Bourdoux@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs