Protein Chemistry and Engineering (MA030373)


Prerequisite Courses

Course Memo

Proteins play a central role in the functioning of all living things. Unlike nucleic acids, proteins are extremely diverse in their physicochemical properties and biological functions. This diversity is based on the properties of amino acids, which vary greatly in size, hydrophobicity and charge. Additional sources of structural and functional diversity are various cofactors and post-translational modifications of proteins. During this course, we consider hierarchical levels of protein organization (from amino acid residues to quaternary complexes), as well as the basic principles of protein functioning (enzymes, structural proteins, signaling cascades). This knowledge provides the rationale for protein engineering. In addition, we discuss modern concepts of the origin of life with an emphasis on protein-related issues. Main topics: Protein structure: Amino acids. Main elements of secondary structure. Tertiary structure. Quaternary structure. Intrinsically disordered proteins. Protein functioning: Enzymes. Structural proteins. Signaling cascades and second messengers. Cofactors and posttranslational modifications: Redox-active cofactors. Main types of PTMs (glycosylation, lipidation, phosphorylation, etc.). Intracellular protein trafficking: Synthesis of membrane proteins. Export to ER, Golgi and extracellular space. Nucleus/cytoplasm exchange. Import to mitochondria and peroxisomes. Protein degradation: Proteosomal degradation. Lysosomal degradation. Protein engineering: Site-directed mutagenesis, random mutagenesis, directed molecular evolution. Protein labeling. Protein split and permutation. Domain exchange. Protein localization signals. Biochemical optogenetics. Methods of studying proteins in live cells and/or at the single molecule level. Origin of Life: Habitats of appearance of the first biomolecules and protocells. Origin of homochirality. Cofactors, amino acids and peptides in the RNA world. Origin of ribosomes, proteins and genetic code.