2023-2024 / CHIM0731-1

Chemistry and physical-chemistry of peptide and protein assemblies


25h Th

Number of credits

 Master in chemistry (120 ECTS)3 crédits 


Jean-Christophe Monbaliu, Loïc Quinton


Jean-Christophe Monbaliu

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Chemistry and physico-chemistry of peptide and protein architectures consists in a series of lectures dedicated to modern chemistry and physico-chemistry of peptides and proteins. Peptide and protein-based therapeutics have a promising growth forecast. There are currently more than 70 approved peptide-based drugs on the market worldwide. More than 140 therapeutic peptides are currently being evaluated in clinical trials, and more than 500 peptide derivatives are in preclinical development. Peptide-based drugs represent ca. 10% of the new drugs accepted in 2016 just in the US. The global peptide drug market is rocketing and is predicted to increase from US$ 14.1 billion to an estimated US$ 25.4 billion in 2018. In such a context, there is a pressing demand for developing new synthetic methods and technologies toward their production, characterization and the identification of their physico-chemical properties. The course starts with a thorough introduction on the modern concepts and methods for the preparation of peptides and proteins, using extraction from natural sources, recombinant techniques and total synthesis.
Another chapter of the course will be dedicated to the main approaches used for determining the sequences and the structures of natural peptides. Indeed, natural sources represent a library of millions of bioactive compounds. However, after having purified a compound of interest, usually by bio-guidage, only a few amount of peptide is still available for total characterization. For so small quantities of material, sensitive methods had to be developed. This part of the course will be focused on these techniques, with a special attention on peptide sequencing by mass spectrometry. The theory presented will be illustrated by the characterization of peptide toxins extracted from animal venoms, where post-translational modifications are massively added to the sequences, increasing the difficulty of achieving full sequences.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

  • Get familiar with the most modern techniques for peptide and protein synthesis and purification
  • Understand the theory of peptide sequencing, and become capable of exploiting this knowledge to characterize highly modified peptides.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Fundamental concepts of organic chemistry, physical chemistry and structural chemistry (bachelor degree)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

A large diversity of examples and exercises are used to illustrate the theoretical concepts. The student will be asked to select a topic of interest related to this series of lecture and to organize a seminar (45 min)
Lab practice
Synthesis of model peptide sequences using modern strategies will be illustrated in the lab. Training on a mass spectrometer will be considered. Each student will have a purified peptide and will be encouraged to design its own experiment to collect as much information as possible on this unknown peptide.

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

Delivery of material in a lecture format, face-to-face. Possibility of e-learning (online additional references and resources).

Recommended or required readings

Slides, additional resources and appropriate references will be made available to the students (myuliège/eCampus). A large diversity of examples and exercises are used to illustrate the theoretical concepts.

The overall theoretical and practical competences will be assessed during a written exam (4 h, January examination session). The exam consists mostly in solving concrete syntheses and applying the various theoretical concepts. A second examination session will be rescheduled for grades below 10/20 with similar criteria as for the first examination session.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Jean-Christophe M. Monbaliu
tel 04 366 35 10; email jc.monbaliu@uliege.be  
Loïc Quinton
tel 04 366 36 79; email Loic.Quinton@uliege.be    

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

exams - part I
exams - part I

Part A - Introduction to peptide synthesis
Part A - Introduction to peptide synthesis