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 Chemistry of Biomolecules I  posted by  member7_php   on 2/15/2009  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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5.451 Chemistry of Biomolecules I, Fall 2005. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 09 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Chemistry of Biomolecules I

Fall 2005

Crystal structure of shikimate kinase. (Image courtesy of the RCSB PDB. PDB ID: 1VIA. Badger, J., et al. "Structural analysis of a set of proteins resulting from a bacterial genomics project." Proteins 60 (2005): 787-796.)

Course Highlights

This course features a full set of problem sets with solutions in the assignments section.

Course Description

5.451 is a half-semester introduction to natural product biosynthetic pathways. The course covers the assembly of complex polyketide, peptide, terpene and alkaloid structures. Discussion topics include chemical and biochemical strategies used to elucidate natural product pathways.


The course is primarily based on recent scientific literature, but these books may provide helpful background.

Recommended Textbook

Dewick, Paul M. Medicinal Natural Products: A Biosynthetic Approach. 2nd ed. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2001. ISBN: 9780471496410 (paperback); ISBN: 9780471496403 (hardcover).

Optional Textbook

Silverman, Richard B. The Organic Chemistry of Enzyme-Catalyzed Reactions. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780126437317.


Homework 1 25%
Homework 2 25%
Homework 3 25%
Exam 25%

Academic Honesty

It is expected that students will maintain the highest standards of academic honesty.

With respect to homework assignments, it is expected that no student will turn in work that is not his or her own by copying the work of another student or by using the work or solutions from this course given in previous years. Discussion of approaches to solving the homework problems after attempting to work the problems independently, however, is permitted and encouraged.

It is expected that during a test or examination, a student will not:

  1. accept or use information of any kind from other students,
  2. represent the work of another student as his or her own,
  3. use aids to memory other than those expressly permitted by the examiner.

Following a test or examination, a student will not try to deceive teachers or graders by misrepresenting or altering his or her previous work. In advance of a test or exam, a student will not knowingly obtain access to the exam questions.

Departures from the above standards are contrary to fundamental principles of MIT and of the larger scientific community. Such departures are considered serious offenses for which disciplinary penalties, including suspension and expulsion, can be imposed.


1-2 Peptide Biosynthesis: Ribosomal and Non-Ribosomal  
3-4 Polyketide Biosynthesis  
5-6 Glycosylation and Halogenation Problem set 1 due on Lec #5
7-8 Shikimate Pathway  
9-10 Alkaloid Biosynthesis Problem set 2 due on Lec #9
Problem set 3 due on Lec #10
11-12 Terpene Biosynthesis  
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