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General and Inorganic Chemistry
Second semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

At the end of the course the student is expected to be able to:
- Interpret the structural and functional aspects of coordination systems of relevance in biology on the basis of the fundamental concepts of complex chemistry.
- Exemplify types of bioinorganic systems and classify them using the classes of systems studied
- Compare two different bioinorganic systems (eg. two different metalloproteins) and analyze similarities and differences


Basis of General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry.

Course contents summary

The course will deal with the role of metals in biological and biomolecular systems, with references in particular to the binding of substrates and the catalytic activity of metalloproteins, and to the role of metal centers in the transport of electrons. During the course will also be presented the design and redesign strategies of proteins (protein design) with particular references to metalloproteins.

A part of the course (1 CFU) will be carried out in the form of practical lab activities both in the laboratory (mainly studies of metalloproteins) and for the use of software for the study of bioinorganic systems.


Introduction to the course topics
Coordination compounds (or complexes) - General theory
Introductory lessons and references of general chemistry
Biological relevance of metals
Coordination compounds and ligand field theory
Spectroscopic techniques for the characterization of proteins and metalloproteins
Electron transfers in biology
Stability of coordination compounds
Rate ​​of reactions
Active sites of metalloproteins and metalloenzymes
Protein Design and Metalloprotein Design

Introduction to laboratory exercises

Exercise 1. Spectrophotometric and CD characterization of serum albumin (SA) and its adducts with Cu(II) and Cu(I)
Exercise 2. Spectrophotometric titration of Cytochrome c
Exercise 3. Use of FoldIt for protein design

Recommended readings

For the introduction to the course and to coordination compounds:
Peter William Atkins, Tina Overton, Jonathan Rourke, Mark Weller, Fraser Armstron - Chimica inorganica – Zanichelli - 2012 (Ask the teacher)

For the sections Coordination compounds - Biological relevance, Localization and transport of metals in biological systems, Electron transfer processes, Metalloproteins and metalloenzymes:
Mark Weller, Tina Overton, Jonathan Rourke, Fraser Armstrong – Inorganic Chemistry – Oxford – 2018

For the section Protein Design and Metalloprotein Design:
Reviews proposed by the teacher.

Slides of the lectures presented by the teacher and available online

Teaching methods

Lectures of the teacher, during which the critical discussion by the students will be encouraged. Guided exercises, or addressed case studies will be presented. (5 CFU)
Practical Laboratory activities (1 CFU)
The slides used by the teacher will be uploaded on the Elly website and will be downloadable upon access with personal credentials.
The slides will be used as educational material to prepare the final exam.

Assessment methods and criteria

An oral exam that will cover:
Presentation of the protein, questions related to topics of the course.
During the test the student must demonstrate that he understands the basics of the Chemistry of coordination, with particular reference to examples taken from biological systems.

Other informations

Part of work is planned to be carried out on a personal computer (presentation of a protein as from one chapter of Handbook of Metalloproteins)