Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
CM1424 (AF:332882 AR:175238)
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The aim of this course is to give the students the basic knowledge of the molecular mechanisms concerning transmission, variation and expression of the genetic information.
At the end of the course the students will be able to recognize the major molecular mechanisms of life in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
The ability to discriminate between different molecular mechanisms underlying the cell life and the ability to compare different molecular mechanisms and put them into perspective.of the cell activity.
Minimum knowledge of Biology and Microbiology, similar to the concepts given at the High School
-> Genetic information and informational molecules
General introduction and historical hints. The chemical structure of DNA and RNA. Three dimensional structure of DNA. Physico-chemical properties of DNA.
-> DNA, RNA and gene structure
Definition of gene coding and regulatory regions. From genes to proteins; messenger RNA, transfer RNA and ribosomal RNA.
-> Genome organization and evolution
DNA content and number of genes. Mutations, DNA rearrangement and genome evolution. The organelle genomes. Interrupted genes; introns. cDNA. Gene families and duplication. DNA repeats.
-> Transposable elements
Transposition mechanisms and control. Retroviruses and retrotransposones. Transposons.
-> Chromatin and chromosomes
Nucleosomes, histones and their modifications. Higher organization levels of chromatin. Heterochromatin and euchromatin. Eukaryotic chromosomes, telomeres and centromeres.
-> DNA replication
DNA polymerases. Proofreading activity of DNA polymerases. Replication mechanism in bacteria and eukaryotic cells.
-> Introns and RNA splicing
Features of spliceosomal introns. Spliceosome and splicing mechanism. Alternative splicing and trans-splicing. Other kinds of introns: group I and group II introns and tRNA introns. The intron movement. RNA editing. Ribozymes and riboswitch.
-> DNA mutation and repair
Spontaneous mutations and mutations caused by physical and chemical mutagens. Pre- and post-replicative repair systems. Recombination in the immunity system cells. Approaches to homologous recombination.
-> Regulation of gene expression
Bacterial promoters. The operon. Activators, repressors and coactivators. Signal transductions and two component regulation systems. Eukaryotic promoters. Activators, repressors and coactivators. Gene expression and chromatin modifications. Epigenetic mechanisms.
-> RNAs and transcription
Different types of RNA: synthesis and maturation. Bacterial RNA polymerase. Sigma factors. Eukaryotic RNA polymerases. Eukaryotic mRNAs: capping, polyadenylation, cytoplasmic localization. The transcription process in bacteria and in eukaryotic cells.
-> Translation
Ribosomes. tRNA structure and function. Aminoacyl-tRNA synthesis. Initiation in bacteria and eukaryotic cells. Polypeptide chain synthesis and translation end. Regulation of translation.
-> Protein localization.
- Jocelyn E. Krebs, Elliott S. Goldstein, Stephen T. Kilpatrick; Lewin's Genes XII (Twelfth Edition) Jones & Bartlett Pub 2017 ISBN: 1284104494
- Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson, Julian Lewis, David Morgan, Martin Raff; Molecular Biology of the Cell (Sixth Edition) Garland Science 2014 ISBN: 0815344643
- Nancy Craig, Rachel Green, Carol Greider, Gisela Storz, Cynthia Wolberger, Orna Cohen-Fix; Molecular Biology: Principles of Genome Function (Second Edition) OUP Oxford 2014 ISBN: 0199658579
- Arnold Berk, Chris A. Kaiser, Harvey Lodish, Angelika Amon, Hidde Ploegh, Anthony Bretscher, Monty Krieger, Kelsey C. Martin; Molecular Cell Biology (Eighth Edition)WH Freeman 2016 ISBN: 1464187444
-Geoffrey M. Cooper, Robert E. Hausman; The cell: a molecular approach (Sixth Edition) Sinauer Associates, Inc 2013 ISBN: 978-1-60535-155-1
Oral examination.
The final exam will be on two questions concerning any of the topics treated during the course and it is passed if both answers are positive.
The course is given as pre-recorded lessons with the Panopto software, uploaded on the Moodle page dedicated to the course ( ).
Accessibility, Disability and Inclusion

Accommodation and support services for students with disabilities and students with specific learning impairments:
Ca’ Foscari abides by Italian Law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) regarding supportservices and accommodation available to students with disabilities. This includes students with mobility, visual, hearing and other disabilities (Law 17/1999), and specific learning impairments (Law 170/2010). In the case of disability or impairment that requires accommodations (i.e., alternate testing, readers, note takers or interpreters) please contact the Disability and Accessibility Offices in Student Services:

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 14/09/2020