Syllabus for Structure and Function of Macromolecules

Makromolekylers struktur och funktion


  • 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: 2023-02-09
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2023
  • Entry requirements:

    Completed courses of 150 credits including (1) 90 credits in biology and chemistry of which at least 30 credits in each subject, or (2) participation in Trends in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. 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 macromolecules.

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

  • describe the basis of biological macromolecules' structure and properties
  • explain structural mechanisms determining how important biological processes take place and are controlled: e.g. catalysis, cell signalling and protein synthesis
  • describe the principles of the most important methods of structure determination: X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and electron microscopy, and analyse the quality of the models to which the methods lead
  • analyse the structure of macromolecules by means of molecular graphics programmes
  • use databases containing information about the sequence, structure and function of macromolecules
  • use methods for predicting the properties, structure and function of macromolecules, and analyse and critically review these results
  • explain basic concepts and critically review relative strengths and weaknesses of methods in structural bioinformatics and computational biochemistry
  • read, summarise, critically review, discuss and present scientific literature in the field of the course both orally and in writing


Basic structural biology and structural bioinformatics

Basic macromolecular structure, proteins, DNA and RNA. Methods for experimental structure determination of macromolecules. Biological sequence and structure databases. Relationships between sequence, structure and function. Analysis of the structure of macromolecules by means of molecular graphics programmes. Prediction of the properties, structure and function of macromolecules based on sequence data. Structural analysis and classification of proteins in structure families.

The structural biology of the cell

Macromolecular structure–function relationships in, for example, enzyme catalysis, signalling, transcription and protein synthesis. Binding specificity and regulation of enzymes and receptors. Introduction to structure-based drug development. Critical reading of scientific articles in the field of the course.

Introduction to computational biochemistry

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


Project containing literature studies and bioinformatic analyses in the field of the course.


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 chemistry 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 2023

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