Plant Biochemistry

Bohnert Lab Main Page






CPSC/NRES/ PLBIO 424 (1 unit)
Fall 2003

Graduate level course in plant intermediary metabolism as related to plant cell structure and function. Topics to be covered will include: bioenergetics, cell walls, membranes, respiration, photosynthesis, photorespiration, carbon metabolism, nitrogen metabolism, sulfur metabolism, lipid metabolism, plant hormones and signalling circuits, and secondary products.

Course Objective: A key aspect of the course will be to develop an understanding of the chemical basis and “chemical logic” of metabolic processes in plants.
Course meeting: 11-12 M W F W-223, Turner Hall
Instructors: Donald P. Briskin
Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences & Dept. of Plant Biology
230 E. Madigan Lab (office)
phone: 244-1115
Hans J. Bohnert
Dept. Crop Sciences & Dept. Plant Biology
196 E. Madigan Lab (office)
phone: 265-5745
Office hours: by appointment


  • Lea/Leegood, Plant Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 2nd ed., J. Wiley & Sons, 1997 (1st choice)
  • Heldt, Plant Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 1999 (2nd)
  • We will also use parts from: Buchanan/Gruissem/Jones, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology of Plants, ASPB, 2000, and from other textbooks the sources of which will be provided.

    Current Literature: For topics discussed during the semester, relevant readings from the current literature will be available “on reserve” in the Agriculture Library, and/or in pdf format on a homepage for the class.

4 1 Hour Examinations @ 50 pts./exam.
1 Comprehensive Final Examination @ 100 pts.

= 200 pts.
= 100 pts.

Total = 300 pts

1 Hour Exam Dates:

Final Examination Date:

Friday, September 19th
Wednesday, October 15th
Friday, November 7th
Friday, December 5th

Monday, December 15th, 8 to 11 a.m.

Lecture Topics:

Introduction (concepts, techniques, biochemical approaches to function, metabolic pathways, control in metabolism)

Overview of plant cell biology
plant cell structure; organelles; cell fractionation and molecular aspects

light reactions and photosystem structure; C3, C4, and CAM modes for carbon fixation; photorespiration

glycolysis, TCA cycle, oxidative pentose phosphate pathway, oxidative phosphorylation

Carbohydrate metabolism
sucrose biosynthesis, export and utilization; starch biosynthesis and degradation; fructans and other reserve carbohydrates

Structural carbohydrate and plant cell walls
composition and structure of cell walls; cell wall elongation; biosynthesis of cell wall components; extensins; lignin biosynthesis and deposition

Plant lipid metabolism and membranes
plant lipid chemistry, fatty acid biosynthesis, phospholipid and triglycerol bio-synthesis, lipid catabolism, cutins, suberins, waxes

Nitrogen metabolism
nitrogen transformations in the soil; nitrate uptake, reduction and assimilation; nitrogen fixation; metabolism of ureides; amino acid biosynthesis and degradation; biosynthesis of purines and pyrimidines

Sulfur metabolism
inorganic sulfur uptake, reduction and assimilation

Plant secondary products
terpenes, phenolics, and alkaloids

Plant growth regulators [‘hormones’]
auxin, cytokinines, ABA, brassinosteroids, jasmonic acid, salicylic acid, NO, carbohydrates, peptides, with emphasis on structures and pathways that regulate inter- and intra-cellular signalling

Biochemical plant ecology
plant responses to the environment; plant responses to herbivory; constitutive and induced responses to herbivory; biochemistry of stress-induced pathways - metabolite, defence compounds

Medicinal products and psychoactive plant compounds

Crop Science's CPSC 424 page

University of Illinois at Urbana Champain Contact Information:
192 ERML
1201 W. Gregory Drive
Plant Biology / Crop Sciences Departments
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Tel: 217-265-5473
Formerly of The
University of Arizona

Page last updated:
26 August 2003