Biological Inorganic Chemistry book cover

Biological Inorganic Chemistry

A New Introduction to Molecular Structure and Function

Biological Inorganic Chemistry: A New Introduction to Molecular Structure and Function, Second Edition, provides a comprehensive discussion of the biochemical aspects of metals in living systems. Beginning with an overview of metals and selected nonmetals in biology, the book then discusses the following concepts: basic coordination chemistry for biologists; structural and molecular biology for chemists; biological ligands for metal ions; intermediary metabolism and bioenergetics; and methods to study metals in biological systems. The book also covers metal assimilation pathways; transport, storage, and homeostasis of metal ions; sodium and potassium channels and pumps; magnesium phosphate metabolism and photoreceptors; calcium and cellular signaling; the catalytic role of several classes of mononuclear zinc enzymes; the biological chemistry of iron; and copper chemistry and biochemistry. In addition, the book discusses nickel and cobalt enzymes; manganese chemistry and biochemistry; molybdenum, tungsten, vanadium, and chromium; non-metals in biology; biomineralization; metals in the brain; metals and neurodegeneration; metals in medicine and metals as drugs; and metals in the environment.


This book provides an ideal introduction for scientists studying the importance of metals in biology, medicine and environmental sciences and for students following courses in inorganic biochemistry, bioinorganic chemistry or inorganic chemistry. It is designed for:
  Researchers: Because it is clearly written and gives a homogeneous view of the subject Chemistry, biology, microbiology, plant science, medical research (preclinical and clinical) environmental research
  Students: Chemists / biologists following courses or taking an advanced topic in Inorganic chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, biological inorganic chemistry. chemical biology, medicine and environmental sciences
  Consultants: To have access to important information collected in one volume. Pharmacological industry, foodstuffs and agro-industries, environmental applications

Paperback, 472 Pages

Published: February 2012

Imprint: Elsevier

ISBN: 978-0-444-53782-9


  • "…a fine scholarly text written in a reader-friendly style to describe the various roles of metals in biological systems, human health, and the environment. It also considers the mechanisms and experimental methods for studying biological processes involving metals…I would highly recommend it to all interested biology, and biochemistry students and researchers."--Science Progress, vol 97, issue 1, 2014
    "…a fine scholarly text written in a reader-friendly style to describe the various roles of metals in biological systems, human health, and the environment…The material of the second edition of this book has been updated, and new chapters have been included…I would highly recommend it to all interested biology, and biochemistry students and researchers."--Science Progress, February 18, 2014
    "Crichton…offers this detailed and extensively illustrated text on inorganic components of biochemistry. Three introductory chapters explain the basic importance of metals in biology and orient biologists to coordination chemistry and chemists to molecular biology, respectively. General features of metal function are covered, including common ligands, their role in metabolism, assimilation and transport, and methods of study."--Reference & Research Book News, December 2013
    "At first blush, inorganic biochemistry might sound like an oxymoron, but that is not the case here…Crichton’s book will be useful resource for students or researchers who want to understand the exciting world of inorganic biochemistry."--CHOICE, October 2012, Vol. 50, No. 02
    "Robert Crichton has blended an element-centric approach to the subject with a biological thread that is engaging and helpful in exploring the topics in detail. The text is both accessible and detailed, but pitched at undergraduate level."--Chemistry World


  • Preface to the 2nd edition

    1. An Overview of Metals and Selected Nonmetals in Biology


    Why do We Need Anything Other Than C, H, N, and O (together with some P and S)?

    What are the Essential Elements and the Essential Metal Ions?

    An Idiosyncratic View of the Periodic Table


    2. Basic Coordination Chemistry for Biologists


    Types of Chemical Bonds

    Ionic Bonding

    Covalent Bonding

    Hard and Soft Ligands

    The Chelate Effect

    Coordination Geometry

    Redox Chemistry

    Crystal Field Theory and Ligand Field Theory


    3. Structural and Molecular Biology for Chemists


    The Structural Building Blocks of Proteins

    Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and Quaternary Structure of Proteins

    The Structural Building Blocks of Nucleic Acids

    Secondary and Tertiary Structures of Nucleic Acids


    Lipids and Biological Membranes

    A Brief Overview of Molecular Biology






    4. Biological Ligands for Metal Ions


    Amino Acid Residues

    Low-Molecular-Weight Inorganic Anions

    Organic Cofactors

    Insertion of Metal Ions into Metalloproteins

    Chelatase - The Terminal Step in Tetrapyrrole Metallation

    Iron?Sulfur Cluster Formation

    More Complex Cofactors - MoCo, FeMoCo, P-clusters, H-clusters, and CuZ Siderophores


    5. An Overview of Intermediary Metabolism and Bioenergetics


    Redox Reactions in Metabolism

    The Central Role of ATP in Metabolism

    The Types of Reaction Catalysed by Enzymes of Intermediary Metabolism

    An Overview of Catabolism

    Selected Case Studies - Glycolysis and the Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle

    An Overview of Anabolism

    Selected Case Studies: Gluconeogenesis and Fatty Acid Biosynthesis

    Bioenergetics - Generation of Phosphoryl Transfer Potential at the Expense of Proton Gradients


    6. Methods to Study Metals in Biological Systems


    Magnetic Properties

    Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Spectroscopy

    Mössbauer Spectroscopy

    NMR Spectroscopy

    Electronic and Vibrational Spectroscopies

    Circular Dichroism and Magnetic Circular Dichroism

    Resonance Raman Spectroscopy

    Extended X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS)

    X-Ray Diffraction


    7. Metal Assimilation Pathways


    Inorganic Biogeochemistry

    Metal Assimilation in Bacteria

    Metal Assimilation in Fungi and Plants

    Metal Assimilation in Mammals


    8. Transport, Storage, and Homeostasis of Metal Ions


    Metal Storage and Homeostasis in Bacteria

    Metal Transport, Storage, and Homeostasis in Plants and Fungi

    Metal Transport, Storage, and Homeostasis in Mammals


    9. Sodium and Potassium - Channels and Pumps

    Introduction - Transport Across Membranes

    Sodium versus Potassium

    Potassium Channels

    Sodium Channels

    The Sodium?Potassium ATPase

    Active Transport Driven by Na+ Gradients

    Sodium/Proton Exchangers

    Other Roles of Intracellular K+


    10. Magnesium?Phosphate Metabolism and Photoreceptors


    Magnesium-Dependent Enzymes

    Phosphoryl Group Transfer Kinases

    Phosphoryl Group Transfer - Phosphatases

    Stabilisation of Enolate Anions - The Enolase Superfamily

    Enzymes of Nucleic Acid Metabolism

    Magnesium and Photoreception


    11. Calcium - Cellular Signalling

    Introduction - Comparison of Ca2+ and Mg2+

    The Discovery of a Role for Ca2þ Other than as a Structural Component

    An Overview of Ca2+ Regulation and Signalling

    Calcium Pumps

    Intracellular Ca2+ Compartments

    Ca2+ and Cell Signalling


    12. Zinc - Lewis Acid and Gene Regulator


    Mononuclear Zinc Enzymes

    Carbonic Anhydrase


    Alcohol Dehydrogenases

    Other Mononuclear Zinc Enzymes

    Multinuclear and Cocatalytic Zinc Enzymes

    Zinc Fingers DNA- and RNA-Binding Motifs


    13. Iron: Essential for Almost All Life


    Iron Chemistry

    Iron and Oxygen

    The Biological Importance of Iron

    Biological Functions of Iron-Containing Proteins


    Oxygen Transport

    Activators of Molecular Oxygen

    Electron Transport Proteins

    Iron-Sulfur Proteins

    Other Iron-Containing Proteins

    Dinuclear Nonhaem Iron Enzymes


    14. Copper - Coping with Dioxygen


    Copper Chemistry and Biochemistry

    Type 1 Blue Copper Proteins - Electron Transport

    Copper-Containing Enzymes in Oxygen Activation and Reduction

    Type 2 Copper Proteins

    Mars and Venus - The Role of Copper in Iron Metabolism


    15. Nickel and Cobalt: Evolutionary Relics


    Nickel Enzymes

    Methyl-coenzyme M Reductase

    Cobalamine and Cobalt Proteins

    B12-dependent Isomerases

    B12-dependent Methyltransferases

    Noncorrin Co-containing Enzymes


    16. Manganese - Oxygen Generation and Detoxification

    Introduction: Mn Chemistry and Biochemistry

    Photosynthetic Oxidation of Water - Oxygen Evolution

    Mn2+ and Detoxification of Oxygen Free Radicals

    Nonredox di-Mn Enzymes - Arginase


    17. Molybdenum, Tungsten, Vanadium, and Chromium


    Mo and W Chemistry and Biochemistry

    Molybdenum Enzyme Families

    The Xanthine Oxidase Family

    The Sulfite Oxidases and DMSO Reductases

    Tungsten Enzymes





    18. Non-metals in Biology


    The Major Biogeochemical Cycles

    Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Phosphorus

    The Nitrogen Cycle

    Sulfur and Selenium

    Chlorine and Iodine


    19. Biomineralisation


    Principles of Solid-State Biological Inorganic Chemistry

    An Overview of the Major Classes of Biominerals

    Iron Deposition in Ferritin

    Formation of Magnetite in Magnetotactic Bacteria

    Calcium-Based Biominerals - Calcium Carbonates in Ascidians and Molluscs

    Silica-Based Biominerals


    20. Metals in Brain


    The Brain and the Blood?Brain Barrier (BBB)

    Sodium, Potassium, and Calcium Channels

    Calcium and Signal Transduction

    Zinc, Copper, and Iron



    Concluding Remarks


    21. Metals and Neurodegeneration


    Metal-based Neurodegeneration

    Neurodegenerative Diseases Associated with Metals

    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

    Creutzfeldt?Jakob and Other Prion Diseases

    Disorders of Copper Metabolism - Wilson’s and Menkes Diseases and Aceruloplasminaemia


    22. Metals in Medicine and Metals as Drugs


    Disorders of Metal Metabolism and Homeostasis

    Metal-based Drugs

    Cisplatin, an Anticancer Drug

    Other Metals as Anti cancer Drugs

    Metallotherapeutics with Lithium

    Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


    23. Metals in the Environment

    Introduction Environmental Pollution and Heavy Metals





    Metals as Poisons




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