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University of Houston BCHS 3304: General Biochemistry I, Section 07553 Spring 2003 1:00-2:30 PM Mon./Wed. AH 101 Instructor: Glen B. Legge, Ph.D., Cambridge UK Phone: 713-743-8380 Fax: 713-743-2636 E-mail: [email protected] Office hours: Mon. and Wed. (2:30-4:00 PM) or by appointment

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University of Houston

BCHS 3304: General Biochemistry I,Section 07553

Spring 2003 1:00-2:30 PM Mon./Wed. AH 101


Glen B. Legge, Ph.D., Cambridge UK

Phone: 713-743-8380

Fax: 713-743-2636

E-mail: [email protected]

Office hours:

Mon. and Wed. (2:30-4:00 PM) or by appointment

353 SR2  (Science and Research Building 2)

Research Interests:

Molecular mechanisms of cell adhesion, using primarily multi- dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.


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Course Outline

3 Exams and a Comprehensive Final (See Syllabus)

Tentatively, grades will be 15 % As, 20 % Bs, 35 % Cs, 25 % Ds, 5 % Fs

Four Homeworks-to be Handed in!!! I will grade it.

Homework counts 10% of your grade.


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The Exams are based on the book, class notes, and homework.

Those who do the homework honestly, will earn the better grades.

I encourage group homework and study sections. But each person in a group must pull their own weight, copied answers will be considered dishonest. Copying the homework and not fully participating, cheats yourself.

I can not return homework, so photocopy it for your records.

You will need to know the material! You can not just be familiar with it.

You will need to study about 2-3 hours a day!



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The lecture notes and solutions to the homework will be on the Web!!

Remember the address is case sensitive.

These notes are not a substitute for class participation. These notes will be (even in an early form) will be posted before the lectures. They are intended to make you pay attention in class, take notes with you. Don’t sit in class and just copy notes!!

I strongly suggest you read the assigned material before the lecture.

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NOTE: Cell Biology and Biochemistry Labs will meet the first week of classes.

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  • Foundations of Biochemistry

  • Universe is 15-20 billion years old –BIG BANG

  • Initially H2 was made then condensed to He

  • Stars formed-Stars died, Super novas exploded creating higher atomic number elements. Over the billions of years under the right conditions complex molecules formed. Complicated chemical reactions started occurring - intermolecular interactions and carbon based chemistry developed.

  • From this milieu sprang the property of

  • LIFE

  • Biochemistry is the study of this process on a chemical level


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  • The Physical Laws of Life

  • Living organisms operate within the same physical laws that apply to physics and chemistry:

    • Conservation of Mass, Energy

    • Laws of Thermodynamics

    • Laws of Chemical Kinetics

    • Principles of Chemical Reactions


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  • Molecular Logic of Life

  • These physical laws describe several axioms that make up the Molecular Logic of Life. These axioms define:

  • Energy converted to work

  • Catalytic chemical transformations

  • Assembly of molecules with great complexity from simple subunits.

  • Complex molecules combine to form supra molecular components, organelles and finally assemble into a cell.

  • Store and pass on instructions for the assembly of all future generations from simple non-living precursors


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Replication through complementarity

  • More complex molecules increases chemical versatility

  • Specific pairing of functional groups gives rise to complementarity

  • Complementarity makes it possible for macromolecules to replicate

  • Over time natural selection favored molecules that made accurate copies of themselves

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  • Cell  multi cell, varied and diverse and evolutionary processes lead to diversity but life has many common themes and processes.

  • Organic compounds found in living organisms are a product of Biological Activity

  • Biomolecules are selected by evolution- the fit are kept, the not fit are discarded.

  • The more fit remain and continue to evolve.


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15 structures and chemical reactivities as inanimate matter!

From 3D structure to antibody interaction, hormone function to replication and reproduction i.e.. from Birth-Death.

Life is defined within the physical laws of Chemistry and Physics

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17 structures and chemical reactivities as inanimate matter!

  • The Essential Role of Water

  • H2O is the key to understanding the behavior of macromolecules. It is the solvent of life and all living transformations occur in an aqueous media-

  • Life is thought to arise from the sea.

  • Even water-insoluble compounds such as lipid membranes derive their nature and function by their interactions with H2O.

  • Living organisms are composed of lifeless molecules that conform to the physical laws of nature.

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18 structures and chemical reactivities as inanimate matter!

However, the collective behavior of these many molecules and their combined interactions, yield extraordinary properties.