Interesting Biochem Comment

Louis Hom lhom at OCF.Berkeley.EDU
Sat Apr 13 15:26:11 EST 2002

I don't any real point to make, I just thought this was an interesting 
comment from the 11Apr02 issue of Nature (p.587):

"The enzymes that catalyse such reactions in nature typically operate at 
kilohertz frequencies: many biological chemical reactions
convert substrates to products at rates of roughly 1,000 per second. 
Almost half of these enzymes require metal ions to achieve their
catalytic functions -- usually Mg, Ca, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu and Zn -- 
typically embedded in a three-dimensional protein matrix that
ensures tightly controlled alignment of the reactants to achieve the 
desired formation and release of the product molecule(s). Outside
the protein milieu, these metals in their typical + 2 and + 3 oxidation 
states form complexes that exchange their ligands rapidly Q
they are kinetically labile.

These ions seem, therefore, to have been adopted by living organisms 
precisely because they can bind to substrates and release
products on a timescale commensurate with biological requirements. Notably 
absent from the list are second- and third-row
transition metals, such as Ru, Pd and Pt. Complexes containing these metal 
ions are important as industrial catalysts, but their rates
of ligand exchange are much lower than those of their first-row 
counterparts. With a few exceptions, such as Mo and W, such
elements have therefore not been selected for biological functions."
Lou Hom >K'93			     
lhom at ocf.berkeley.edu		

More information about the Proteins mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net