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The Periodic Table’s Impact on Bioinorganic Chemistry and Biology’s Selective Use of Metal Ions

Part of the Structure and Bonding book series (STRUCTURE,volume 182)

Abstract

Despite the availability of a vast variety of metal ions in the periodic table, biology uses only a selective few metal ions. Most of the redox-active metals used belong to the first row of transition metals in the periodic table and include Fe, Co, Ni, Mn, and Cu. On the other hand, Ca, Zn, and Mg are the most commonly used redox inactive metals in biology. In this chapter, we discuss periodic table’s impact on bioinorganic chemistry, by exploring reasons behind this selective choice of metals in biology. A special focus is placed on the chemical and functional reasons why one metal ion is preferred over another one. We discuss the implications of metal choice in various biological processes including catalysis, electron transfer, redox sensing, and signaling. We find that bioavailability of metal ions along with their redox potentials, coordination flexibility, valency, and ligand affinity determines the specificity of metals for biological processes. Understanding the implications underlying the selective choice of metals from the periodic table in these biological processes can help design more efficient catalysts, more precise biosensors, and more effective drugs.

Keywords

  • Bioavailability
  • Catalysis
  • Electron transfer
  • Metalloenzymes
  • Periodic table
  • Redox sensing

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Abbreviations

CaM:

Calmodulin

E°′:

Reduction potential

ET:

Electron transfer

HCO:

Heme-copper oxidase

Ln:

Lanthanide

NO:

Nitric oxide

NOR:

Nitric oxide reductase

SCS:

Secondary coordination sphere

SOD:

Superoxide dismutase

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Acknowledgments

We wish to thank all the Lu group members for their contributions to some of the relevant results described in this chapter, which have been generally supported by the US National Science Foundation (CHE-1710241) and National Institute of Health (GM062211). Some work described in this chapter was funded by the DOE Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research under Award Number DE-SC0018420). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Department of Energy.

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Bhagi-Damodaran, A., Lu, Y. (2019). The Periodic Table’s Impact on Bioinorganic Chemistry and Biology’s Selective Use of Metal Ions. In: Mingos, D. (eds) The Periodic Table II. Structure and Bonding, vol 182. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/430_2019_45

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