Structural Bioinformatics

5 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 1MB204

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Biology G2F, Technology G2F
Grading system
Pass with distinction, Pass with credit, Pass, Fail
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 26 April 2016
Responsible department
Biology Education Centre

Entry requirements

60 credits within the Master Programme in Molecular Biotechnology Engineering, includning Cell Biology and Basic Chemistry.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student should be able to

  • account for the structure of proteins, DNA and RNA
  • explain the relationship between protein sequence and protein structure
  • describe how structure translates into function within different biological fields such as catalysis, transport and regulation
  • explain basic principles of experimental methods for the determination of the structure of macromolecules
  • use sequence and structural databases
  • use computer programs to visualise three-dimensional structures and analyse the relationship between structure and function
  • estimate the validity of information in structural databases
  • use bioinformatics tools for sequence alignment, sequence motif identification and prediction of secondary and tertiary structures
  • account for the purpose, theoretical background, ethical aspects and limitations of the above mentioned bioinformatics methods and use this knowledge to interpret relevant results


Structure and characteristics of macromolecules (proteins, DNA, RNA). Relation between sequence, structure and function. Structural basis for the dynamics, binding specificity, catalysis and cooperativity of macromolecules. Function of macromolecules highlighted by a number of examples within fields such as enzymes, membrane proteins, signalling and translation.

Overview of biological databases, servers and information centres. Sequence comparisons. Basic macromolecular structure: three-dimensional structure, PDB co-ordinates, classification of proteins in structure families, programs for analysis and comparison of structures. Introduction to the theory of classification and comparison of sequences and extraction of common distinctive features (e.g., motifs). Sequence analysis for prediction of secondary and tertiary structures, and homology modelling of three-dimensional structures based on sequence data. Research and publication ethics.


Lectures, seminars and computer exercises. Attendance at seminars and full participation in computer labs is mandatory to pass the course.


Written examination ( 3 credits) , laboratory, exercises and seminars ( 2 credits) .