Syllabus for Structure and Function of Macromolecules

Makromolekylers struktur och funktion

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 1BG349
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1N, Applied Biotechnology A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2008-03-13
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2021-10-20
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2022
  • Entry requirements:

    150 credits including (1) 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in chemistry, or (2) 30 credits in biology, 30 credits in chemistry and 7.5 credits in mathematics, or (3) 90 credits in chemistry and biology, including at least 60 credits in chemistry. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

  • Responsible department: Biology Education Centre

Learning outcomes

The overall goal of this course is to give students advanced knowledge of the relationship between the structure and function of biomolecules.

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • account for the basis of biological macromolecules' constitution and traits
  • explain structural mechanisms for how important biological processes take place and are controlled, for example catalysis, cell signalling and translation
  • account for the principles of the most important methods for structural analysis: X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and electron microscopy and analyse the quality of models produced by these methods
  • analyse structural details in macromolecules using a molecular graphics program
  • use databases with information of structure and function of macromolecules
  • use analyse, and critically evaluate results from methods to predict secondary - and tertiary structure of macromolecules
  • explain basic concepts and critically assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of fundamental approaches in computational biology
  • present and discuss scientific literature in the area of the course orally and in writing


Basic structural biology and structural bioinformatics:

Basic macromolecular structure: proteins, DNA, and RNA. Methods for experimental structure determination of macromolecules and complexes. Biological sequence and structure databases. Sequence analysis. Relation between sequence, structure and function. Prediction of secondary- and tertiary structure of proteins and nucleic acids based on sequence data. Structure analysis and classification of proteins in structural families.

Structural biology of the cell:

Macromolecular structure and function in translation, folding and other fields of cell biology. The folding process and structural background to the dynamics of macromolecules.

Binding specificity, catalysis and cooperativity in enzymes and receptors. Introduction to structure-aided drug discovery.

Introduction to computational modelling of ligand binding, protein folding and enzyme catalysis.


Instruction is provided in the form of lectures, computer exercises, laboratory sessions, seminars and projects. Participation in computer exercises, laboratory sessions, seminars and project are compulsory.


Modules: Theory 7 credits; Seminars, computer exercises, and laboratory sessions 3.5 credits; Project 3 credits; Written report in Computational biology 1.5 credits. The theory is examined through written examinations. Computer exercises and laboratory sessions require active participation. The project is examined through written and oral presentation.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Other directives

Cannot be included in the same degree as 1BG351 Structure and Function of Biomolecules 10 credits.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2022

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

The two books are alternatives: one more brief, the other thicker.

  • Liljas, Anders Textbook of structural biology

    New Jersey: World Scientific, cop. 2009

    Find in the library

  • Petsko, Gregory A.; Ringe, Dagmar Protein structure and function

    London: New Science, cop. 2004

    Find in the library

Research Articles

Last modified: 2022-04-26