Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT

Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT BIOLOGY
MOLECULAR BIOLOGY: ENZYMES AND METABOLISM A. Enzyme Structure and Function 1. Function of enzymes in catalyzing biological reactions 2. Reduction of activation energy 3. Substrates and enzyme specificity B. Control of Enzyme Activity 1. Feedback inhibition 2. Competitive inhibition 3. Noncompetitive inhibition C. Basic Metabolism 1. Glycolysis (anaerobic and aerobic, substrates and products) 2. Krebs cycle (substrates and products, general features of the pathway) 3. Electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation (substrates and products, general features of the pathway) 4. Metabolism of fats and proteins MOLECULAR BIOLOGY: DNA AND PROTEIN SYNTHESIS DNA Structure and Function A. DNA Structure and Function 1. Double-helix structure 2. DNA composition (purine and pyrimidine bases, deoxyribose, phosphate) 3. Base-pairing specificity, concept of complementarity 4. Function in transmission of genetic information B. DNA Replication 1. Mechanism of replication (separation of strands, specific coupling of free nucleic acids, DNA polymerase, primer required) 2. Semiconservative nature of replication C. Repair of DNA 1. Repair during replication 2. Repair of mutations D. Recombinant DNA Techniques 1. Restriction enzymes 2. Hybridization
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© 2009 AAMC. May not be reproduced without permission.

May not be reproduced without permission. Translation 1. Cancer as a failure of normal cellular controls.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT 3. Codon–anticodon relationship. codon sequences) B. Missense and nonsense codons 4. oncogenes. tumor suppressor genes 4. General characteristics 2. enveloped and nonenveloped) 2. Lack of organelles and nucleus 3. General structural characteristics (nucleic acid and protein. centromeres B. tRNA. 2 . PCR Protein Synthesis A. Fungi 1. degenerate code 3. mRNA composition and structure (RNA nucleotides. Posttranscriptional control. Typical information flow (DNA → RNA → protein) 2. Genomic content (RNA or DNA) 5. Role and structure of ribosomes MOLECULAR BIOLOGY: EUKARYOTES A. tRNA and rRNA composition and structure (e. Genetic Code 1.g. Structural aspects of typical bacteriophage 4. RNA base-pairing specificity 2. Mechanism of transcription (RNA polymerase. Size relative to bacteria and eukaryotic cells © 2009 AAMC. primer not required) C. Chromosomal proteins 2. poly-A tail) 2. Eukaryotic Chromosome Organization 1. basic concept of splicing (introns. General aspects of life cycle B. and rRNA. DNA binding proteins. Transcription regulation 2.. Initiation and termination codons (function. RNA nucleotides) 3. Telomeres. Virus Structure 1. Transcription 1. promoters. Control of Gene Expression in Eukaryotes 1. transcription factors 3. Roles of mRNA. Gene cloning 4. 5′ cap. exons) MICROBIOLOGY A.

RER (site of ribosomes) c. transfer by conjugation 2. Defining characteristics (membrane-bound nucleus. use of host synthetic mechanisms to replicate viral components c. Regulation of gene expression. cocci (spherical). nuclear pores B. Prokaryotic Cell: Bacteria Structure 1. site of ATP production b. Existence of anaerobic and aerobic variants F. High degree of genetic adaptability. Exponential growth 4. penetration of cell membrane or cell wall. entry of viral material b. Existence of plasmids. eubacteria. Transduction. Nucleus (compartmentalization. Nucleus and Other Defining Characteristics 1. Reproduction by fission 2. Transformation (incorporation into bacterial genome of DNA fragments from external medium) 3. Lysosomes (vesicles containing hydrolytic enzymes) 3. attachment to host cell. coupling of transcription and translation GENERALIZED EUKARYOTIC CELL A. Mitochondria a. Endoplasmic reticulum a. Nucleolus (location. integration into host DNA. Prokaryotic Cell: Genetics 1. self-assembly and release of new viral particles 3. Self-replicating biological units that must reproduce within specific host cell 2. Generalized phage and animal virus life cycles a. Lack of typical eukaryotic organelles 3. extragenomic DNA.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT C. rough (RER) and smooth (SER) b. acquisition of antibiotic resistance 3. Presence of cell wall 5. function) 4. Lack of nuclear membrane and mitotic apparatus 2. Membrane-bound Organelles 1. have own DNA and ribosomes c. mitotic division) 2. spirilli (spiral-shaped). 3 . reverse transcriptase 4. May not be reproduced without permission. RER (transmembrane proteins) © 2009 AAMC. storage of genetic information) 3. Major classifications: bacilli (rod-shaped). role in membrane biosynthesis: SER (lipids). Nuclear envelope. self-replication. Viral Life Cycle 1. transfer of genetic material by viruses D. Retrovirus life cycle. archaebacteria 4. presence of organelles. Flagellar propulsion E. inner and outer membrane 2. Prokaryotic Cell: Growth and Physiology 1.

Membrane receptors.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT d. Golgi apparatus (general structure. secretion. anaphase. role in support and transport) 4. Intermediate filaments (role in support) 5. S. Phases of cell cycle (G0. centromeres. centrioles. telophase) 2. kinetochores c. Exocytosis and endocytosis 10. spindles b. chromatids. Sodium–potassium pump 7. desmosomes D.M) 4. Mitotic structures and processes a. General function in cell containment 2. Osmosis 4. Microtubules (composition. Composition and function of eukaryotic cilia and flagella 6. 4 . Cell Cycle and Mitosis 1. asters. G1. role in cleavage and contractility) 3. microtubule organizing centers E. Plasma Membrane 1. nuclear membrane breakdown and reorganization d. Centrioles. mechanisms of chromosome movement 3. General function in cell support and movement 2. Interphase and mitosis (prophase. May not be reproduced without permission. Passive and active transport 5. metaphase. Membrane channels 6. fluid mosaic model 3. RER (role in biosynthesis of transmembrane and secreted proteins that cotranslationally targeted to RER by signal sequence) 4. tight junctions c. Cytoskeleton 1. G2. cell signaling pathways. Cell–cell communication (general concepts of cellular adhesion) a. and modification of glycoprotein carbohydrates) C. Apoptosis (Programmed Cell Death) © 2009 AAMC. second messengers 8. Protein and lipid components. Membrane potential 9. Microfilaments (composition. role in packaging. gap junctions b. Growth arrest F.

Axon (structure. Sarcomeres (―I‖ and ―A‖ bands. and organ levels) 2. Endocrine System: Mechanisms of Hormone Action 1. insulation of axon 5. Specificity of hormones (target tissue) © 2009 AAMC. 5 . Endothelial cells 3. Muscle Cell/Contractile 1. frequency of firing) B. Presence of troponin and tropomyosin C. simple epithelium. all-or-none b. stratified epithelium) 2. Definitions of endocrine gland. products) 4. Other Specialized Cell Types 1. Nodes of Ranvier (role in propagation of nerve impulse along axon) 6. sodium–potassium pump 10. sliding filament model) 3. Transport of hormones (bloodstream) 3. locations. propagation between cells without resistance loss 8. Function of endocrine system (specific chemical control at cell. Schwann cells. oligodendrocytes. Myelin sheath. Nerve Cell/Neural 1. extracellular matrix) NERVOUS AND ENDOCRINE SYSTEMS A. Endocrine System: Hormones 1. threshold. transmitter molecules b. Cellular mechanisms of hormone action 2. loose versus dense. hormone 3. Major endocrine glands (names. Dendrites (structure. sarcoplasmic reticulum 4. synaptic knobs c. Cell body (site of nucleus and organelles) 2. ―M‖ and ―Z‖ lines. Epithelial cells (cell types. Major types of hormones B. Synaptic activity a. Action potential a. fiber types. fatigue d. function) 3. Connective tissue cells (major tissues and cell types.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT SPECIALIZED EUKARYOTIC CELLS AND TISSUES A. cross bridges. Calcium regulation of contraction. Resting potential (electrochemical gradient) 9. tissue. Synapse (site of impulse propagation between cells) 7. Excitatory and inhibitory nerve fibers (summation. May not be reproduced without permission. Organization of contractile elements (actin and myosin filaments. ―H‖ zone—general structure only) 5. Abundant mitochondria in red muscle cells (ATP source) 2. function) 4.

bone marrow) c. brain c. structural and functional differences b. Four-chambered heart (structure. eye structure c. efferent control D. and fluids. Capillary beds a. Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (functions. Role in thermoregulation 3. mechanism of hearing 4. light receptors b. Sensor and effector neurons 4. antagonistic control) 5. AND IMMUNE SYSTEMS A. ions. function) 4. nutrients. plasma. chemicals. ear structure b. proprioceptive and somatic sensors 2. Circulatory System 1. sensory input d. pressure and flow characteristics 7. May not be reproduced without permission. taste 3. Vision a. Nervous System: Structure and Function 1. Composition of blood a. venules. integrative and cognitive abilities 2. Organization of vertebrate nervous system 3. effects on flexor and extensor muscles b. regulation of plasma volume © 2009 AAMC. erythrocyte production and destruction (spleen. reflex arc. visual image processing CIRCULATORY. mechanisms of gas and solute exchange b. Systolic and diastolic pressure 5. Reflexes a. Hearing a. Pulmonary and systemic circulation 6. hormones.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT 4. response to external influences c. feedback loop. Major functions a. Nervous System: Sensory Reception and Processing 1. 6 . removal of metabolic waste) 2. Arterial and venous systems (arteries. mechanism of heat exchange 8. high-level control and integration of body systems b. Functions (circulation of oxygen. roles of spinal cord. veins) a. blood cells b. Integration with nervous system (feedback control) C. arterioles. Skin. Olfaction. LYMPHATIC.

equalization of fluid distribution b. transport of proteins and large glycerides c. hematocrit b. Major functions a. macrophages. antigen presentation DIGESTIVE AND EXCRETORY SYSTEMS A. pharynx (function in swallowing) d. spleen c. Oxygen and carbon dioxide transport by blood a. Stomach a. Basic aspects of innate immunity and inflammatory response 4. Concepts of antigen and antibody 5. neutrophils. hemoglobin. 7 . Lymphatic System 1. storage and churning of food b. return of materials to the blood 2. Details of oxygen transport: biochemical characteristics of hemoglobin a. oxygen affinity 10. site of digestion d. Digestive System 1. Immune System: Innate and Adaptive Systems 1. gastric juice. dendritic cells b. Cells and their basic functions a. Source of lymph (diffusion from capillaries by differential pressure) 4. low pH. protection by mucus against self-destruction c. modification of oxygen affinity B. saliva as lubrication and source of enzymes b. plasma cells 2. oxygen content c. coagulation. B lymphocytes. Tissues a. esophagus (transport function) 2. Lymph nodes (activation of lymphocytes) C. Composition of lymph (similarity to blood plasma. structure (gross) © 2009 AAMC. Structure of antibody molecule 6. bone marrow b. role of liver in production of clotting factors 9. mast cells. Mechanism of stimulation by antigen. T lymphocytes c. epiglottal action c. substances transported) 3. thymus d. lymph nodes 3. May not be reproduced without permission. natural killer cells. production of digestive enzymes.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT d. clotting mechanisms. Ingestion a.

blood pressure b. acid–base balance d. detoxification d. glomerular filtration b. Excretory System 1. function and structure of villi c. bacterial flora c. glomerulus b. roles in blood glucose regulation. proximal tubule d. Liver a. Muscular control a. site of digestion d. bicarbonate b. distal tubule f. production of enzymes. peristalsis B. Roles in homeostasis a. structure (anatomic subdivisions) 7. roles in nutrient metabolism. removal of soluble nitrogenous waste 2. structure (gross) 6. Formation of urine a. production of enzymes. loop of Henle e. Kidney structure a. Bowman’s capsule c. secretion and reabsorption of solutes © 2009 AAMC. feces) 9.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT 3. medulla 3. cortex b. structure (gross) 8. Pancreas a. storage in gallbladder b. 8 . transport of enzymes to small intestine c. sphincter muscle b. Rectum (storage and elimination of waste. collecting duct 4. absorption of water b. neutralization of stomach acid e. Bile a. Large intestine a. structure (gross) 4. Nephron structure a. osmoregulation c. May not be reproduced without permission. function 5. vitamin storage c. absorption of food molecules and water b. production of bile b. Small intestine a.

specialization of bone types. concentration of urine d. May not be reproduced without permission. diaphragm. gas exchange. Nervous control a. mobility b. motor neurons b. Muscle System 1. 9 . differential pressure b. Skeletal System 1. Breathing mechanisms a. structures b. and cardiac muscle. support. countercurrent multiplier mechanism (basic function) 5. osteoclasts) RESPIRATORY SYSTEM A. thermoregulation (shivering reflex) 2. tendons 5. protection against disease. Structural characteristics of skeletal. bone growth (osteoblasts. peripheral circulatory assistance c. Cartilage (structure. Functions a.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT c. General structure and function a. physical protection 2. sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation B. smooth. bladder. Bone structure a. resiliency and surface tension effects © 2009 AAMC. calcium storage c. neuromuscular junctions. Respiratory System 1. urethra) MUSCLE AND SKELETAL SYSTEMS A. endoskeleton versus exoskeleton 3. rib cage. Functions a. calcium–protein matrix b. Ligaments. thermoregulation b. function) 4. voluntary and involuntary muscles d. particulate matter 2. motor end plates c. Storage and elimination (ureter. Skeletal structure a. structural rigidity and support b. joint structures c. striated versus nonstriated 3.

implantation. development. Major structures arising out of primary germ layers C. fat layer for insulation c. hair. fertilization b. Ovum and sperm a. Physical protection a. differences between male and female structures 2.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT SKIN SYSTEM A. ectoderm) e. tissue types © 2009 AAMC. Stages of early development (order and general features of each) a. birth) B. 10 . calluses. formation of primary germ layers (endoderm. Gametogenesis by meiosis 3. Cell specialization a. Functions in homeostasis and osmoregulation 2. first cell movements ii. protection against abrasion. genitalia c. erectile musculature b. blastula formation d. vasoconstriction and vasodilation in surface capillaries 3. layer differentiation. Skin System 1. connective) b. differences in formation b. differentiation c. hair b. cell types. May not be reproduced without permission. gonads b. location in dermis d. differences in morphology c. neurulation 2. relative impermeability to water REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM AND DEVELOPMENT A. determination b. sweat glands. disease organisms 4. Reproductive sequence (fertilization. Reproductive System 1. relative contribution to next generation 4. gastrulation i. cleavage c. nails. Functions in thermoregulation a. Embryogenesis 1. tissue types (epithelial. Structure a. Developmental Mechanisms 1. mesoderm. Male and female reproductive structures and their functions a.

relationship of mutagens to carcinogens C. inborn errors of metabolism f. concepts of parental. sex determination c. Important differences between meiosis and mitosis 3. base substitution. Mendelian Concepts 1. Testcross (backcross. cytoplasmic inheritance. leakage. chromosomal rearrangements (inversion. translocation) d. Homozygosity and heterozygosity 6. May not be reproduced without permission. Programmed cell death GENETICS A. and F2 generations) © 2009 AAMC. mitochondrial inheritance 5. advantageous versus deleterious mutation e. Sex-linked characteristics a. probability calculations. Gene regulation in development 4. multiple) 5. insertion. transcription error. linkage c. Analytic Methods 1.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT 2. independent assortment b. Incomplete dominance. Codominance 10. Recessiveness 8. frameshift) c. Phenotype and genotype (definitions. deletion. pedigree analysis) 2. translation error. recombination d. F1. expressivity 11. Significance of meiosis 2. Segregation of genes a. Locus 4. Allele (single. penetrance. Meiosis and Genetic Variability 1. single crossovers e. Cell communication in development 3. Hardy–Weinberg principle 2. very few genes on Y chromosome b. Gene pool B. Mutation a. Complete dominance 9. general concept of mutation b. 11 . Wild type 7. Gene 3. types of mutations (random. double crossovers 4.

commensalism iii. outbreeding h. adaptation and specialization d. 12 . Speciation a. fitness concept b. polymorphism c. Origin of life B. notochord b. Relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny 4. genetic drift i. pharangeal pouches. Natural selection a. parallel. Comparative Anatomy 1. parasitism ii. concept of population growth through competition f. definition of species b. and convergent evolution j. Vertebrate phylogeny (vertebrate classes and relations to each other) © 2009 AAMC.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT EVOLUTION A. bottlenecks. May not be reproduced without permission. dorsal nerve cord 2. divergent. symbiotic relationships i. Chordate features a. concepts of ecological niche. mutualism 3. evolutionary success as increase in percent representation in the gene pool of the next generation 2. Evolutionary time as measured by gradual random changes in genome 5. concepts of natural and group selection d. Evolution 1. selection by differential reproduction c. competition e. brachial arches c. inbreeding g.

Structural formulas 4.g. sp. Spin–spin splitting © 2009 AAMC. 1H NMR Spectroscopy 1. constitutional isomers b. sp2. Visible region a. conventions for writing R and S forms b. Mass Spectrometry 1. Delocalized electrons and resonance in ions and molecules B. Ultraviolet region a. 13 . separation of enantiomers MOLECULAR STRUCTURE AND SPECTRA A. conventions for writing E and Z forms 4. Its effect on bond length and bond energies 2. effect of structural changes on absorption 3. Racemic mixtures. Hybrid orbitals (sp3. Sigma and Pi Bonds 1.g. conjugated systems B. fingerprint region 2. conformational isomers 2. intramolecular vibrations and rotations b. Absolute and relative configuration a. Protons in a magnetic field. diastereomers. CO2) 3. and their respective geometries) 2. predictions of shapes of molecules (e. H2O. equivalent protons 2. specific rotation 3. May not be reproduced without permission. Rigidity in molecular structure C. enantiomers. NH3. Absorption Spectroscopy 1. cis and trans isomers) c.. Infrared region a.  -electron and nonbonding electron transitions b..Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT ORGANIC CHEMISTRY THE COVALENT BOND A. Valence shell electron-pair repulsion (VSEPR) theory. Multiple Bonding 1. stereoisomers (e. absorption in visible region yielding complementary color b. Mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) 2. recognizing common characteristic group absorptions. Isomers a. Stereochemistry of Covalently Bonded Molecules 1. Polarization of light. Molecular ion peak C.

reactions with SOCl2 and PBr3 f. May not be reproduced without permission. Thin-layer chromatography D. Extraction (Distribution of Solute Between Two Immiscible Solvents) B. 14 . Important reactions a. Gas–liquid chromatography 2. General principles a. substitution reactions (SN1 or SN2. nomenclature b. substitution reactions with halogens. Recrystallization (Solvent Choice from Solubility Data) HYDROCARBONS A. bicyclic molecules OXYGEN-CONTAINING COMPOUNDS A. pinacol rearrangement in polyhydroxyalcohols. 3. Paper chromatography 3. stability of free radicals. synthetic uses d. chain reaction mechanism. physical properties 2. inorganic esters © 2009 AAMC. Important reactions a. ring strain in cyclic compounds c.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT SEPARATIONS AND PURIFICATIONS A. nomenclature b. protection of alcohols e. Alcohols 1. oxidation c. preparation of mesylates and tosylates g. esterification h. Distillation C. etc. Alkanes 1. combustion b. physical properties 2. inhibition b. depending on alcohol and derived alkyl halide) b. Chromatography (Basic Principles Involved in Separation Process) 1. Description a. Description a.

reactions at adjacent positions i. Important reactions a. internal hydrogen bonding d. effect of substituents on reactivity of C=O. carbanions c. enamine b. resonance stability of carboxylate anion © 2009 AAMC. carboxyl group reactions i. reduction iii. physical properties and solubility 2. effect of chain branching on physical properties B. acetal. acidity of alcohols compared to other classes of oxygen-containing compounds c. keto–enol tautomerism e. Carboxylic Acids 1. hemiacetal ii. physical properties 2. steric hindrance b. decarboxylation iv. General principles a. nomenclature b. imine. Description a. Important reactions a. inductive effect of substituents e. esterification b. halogenation ii. hydrogen bonding b. haloform reactions ii. substitution reactions 3. General principles a. Grignard reagents 3. 1. reactions at α position i.3-dicarbonyl compounds. nucleophilic addition reactions at C=O bond i.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT 3. Aldehydes and Ketones 1.  −unsaturated carbonyl compounds. General principles a. their resonance structures C. hydrogen bonding b. nomenclature b. 15 . Description a. α. oxidation c. dimerization c. acidity of the carboxyl group d. May not be reproduced without permission. aldol condensation iii. nucleophilic attack ii. Wolff–Kishner reaction g. organometallic reagents f. acidity of α hydrogens.

acetoacetic ester synthesis 3. Important reactions a. acidity of α hydrogens in  −keto esters b. Hofmann rearrangement d. basicity b. hydrolysis of amides 3. Hofmann elimination 3. stereochemistry. physical properties 2. stabilization of adjacent carbocations c. General principles a. steric effects c. Acid Derivatives (Acid Chlorides. decarboxylation b. reaction with nitrous acid c. effect of substituents on basicity of aromatic amines © 2009 AAMC. nomenclature b. nucleophilic substitution c. Description a.g. 16 . Amides. May not be reproduced without permission.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT D. nomenclature 2. keto–enol tautomerism AMINES 1. Description a. hydrolysis of fats and glycerides (saponification) f. General principles a. Esters) 1.  -lactams) E. electronic effects d. transesterification e. physical properties 2. relative reactivity of acid derivatives b. Anhydrides.. Important reactions a. Strain (e. alkylation d. amide formation b. preparation of acid derivatives b. nomenclature b. General principles a. Important reactions a. Keto Acids and Esters 1. Description a.

1º structure of proteins b. Important reactions a. Phosphorus Compounds 1. 2º structure of proteins C. Important reactions a. Reactions of monosaccharides B. hydrophobic or hydrophilic 2. cyclic structure and conformations of hexoses d. triacyl glycerols d. terpenes c. common names b. Description a. esters) 2. Carbohydrates 1. free fatty acids D. steroids b. nomenclature. epimers and anomers 2. Description a. structure a. 17 . Amino Acids and Proteins 1. Hydrolysis of the glycoside linkage 3. hydrolysis 3. Lipids 1. a absolute configuration(s) b. Description. structure of phosphoric acids (anhydrides. classification i. acidic or basic ii. classification. peptide linkage b. amino acids classified as dipolar ions c. May not be reproduced without permission. Wittig reaction © 2009 AAMC. Description a. General principles a.Content Outline for Biological Science Section of the MCAT BIOLOGICAL MOLECULES A. absolute configurations c.

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