GRE Syllabus: Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology

The approximate distribution of questions by content category is shown below.

  1. Chemical and Physical Foundations
  • Thermodynamics and kinetics
  • Redox states
  • Water, pH, acid-base reactions and buffers
  • Solutions and equilibria
  • solute-solvent interactions
  • Chemical interactions and bonding
  • Chemical reaction mechanisms
  1. Structural Biology: Structure, Assembly, Organization and Dynamics
  1. Catalysis and Binding
  •  Enzyme reaction mechanisms and kinetics
  • Ligand-protein interaction (e.g., hormone receptors, substrates and effectors, transport proteins and antigen-antibody interactions)
  1. Major Metabolic Pathways
  • Carbon, nitrogen and sulfur assimilation
  • Anabolism
  • Catabolism
  • Synthesis and degradation of macromolecules
  1. Bioenergetics (including respiration and photosynthesis)
  •  Energy transformations at the substrate level
  • Electron transport
  • Proton and chemical gradients
  • Energy coupling (e.g., phosphorylation and transport)
  1. Regulation and Integration of Metabolism
  • Covalent modification of enzymes
  • Allosteric regulation
  • Compartmentalization
  • Hormones
  1. Methods
  •  Biophysical approaches (e.g., spectroscopy, x-ray, crystallography, mass spectroscopy)
  • Isotopes
  • Separation techniques (e.g., centrifugation, chromatography and electrophoresis)
  • Immunotechniques
Methods of importance to cellular biology, such as fluorescence probes (e.g., FRAP, FRET and GFP) and imaging, will be covered as appropriate within the context of the content below.
  1. Cellular Compartments of Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes: Organization, Dynamics and Functions
  •  Cellular membrane systems (e.g., structure and transport across membrane)
  •  Nucleus (e.g., envelope and matrix)
  • Mitochondria and chloroplasts (e.g., biogenesis and evolution)
  1. Cell Surface and Communication
  •  Extracellular matrix (including cell walls)
  • Cell adhesion and junctions
  • Signal transduction
  • Receptor function
  •   Excitable membrane systems
  1. Cytoskeleton, Motility and Shape
  •  Regulation of assembly and disassembly of filament systems
  • Motor function, regulation and diversity
  1. Protein, Processing, Targeting and Turnover
Translocation across membranes
Posttranslational modification
Intracellular trafficking
Secretion and endocytosis
Protein turnover (e.g., proteosomes, lysosomes, damaged protein response)
  1. Cell Division, Differentiation and Development
  Cellcycle, mitosis and cytokinesis
  • Meiosis and gametogenesis
  • Fertilization and early embryonic development (including positional information, homeotic genes, tissue-specific expression, nuclear and cytoplasmic interactions, growth factors and induction, environment, stem cells and polarity)
  1. Genetic Foundations
  •  Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance
  •   Transformation, transduction and conjugation
  • Recombination and complementation
  • Mutational analysis
  •   Genetic mapping and linkage analysis
  1. Chromatin and Chromosomes
  • Karyotypes
  • Translocations, inversions, deletions and duplications
  • Aneuploidy and polyploidy
  • Structure
  • Epigenetics
  1. Genomics
  • Genome structure
  • Repeated DNA and gene families 
  •  Gene identification
  • Transposable elements
  • Bioinformatics
  • Proteomics
  • Molecular evolution
  1. Genome Maintenance
  •   DNA replication
  •   DNA damage and repair
  •   DNA modification
  •   DNA recombination and gene conversion
  1. Gene Expression
  •  The genetic code
  • Transcription/transcriptional profiling
  •  RNA processing
  •  Translation
  1. Gene Regulation
  •   Positive and negative control of the operon
  •   Promoter recognition by RNA polymerases
  •   Attenuation and antitermination
  •   Cis-acting regulatory elements
  •   Trans-acting regulatory factors
  •   Gene rearrangements and amplifications
  •   Small non-coding RNA (e.g., siRNA, microRNA)
         7.    Viruses
  • Genome replication and regulation
  • Virus-host interactions
  1. Methods
  • Restriction maps and PCR
  • Nucleic acid blotting and hybridization
  •   DNA cloning in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
  • Sequencing and analysis
  • Protein-nucleic acid interaction
  • Transgenic organisms
  • Microarrays

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