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Biological Inorganic Chemistry - 2nd Edition - ISBN: 9780444537829, 9780444537836

Biological Inorganic Chemistry

2nd Edition

A New Introduction to Molecular Structure and Function

Author: Robert Crichton
eBook ISBN: 9780444537836
Paperback ISBN: 9780444537829
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 25th January 2012
Page Count: 472
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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.

Key Features

  • Winner of a 2013 Textbook Excellence Awards (Texty) from the Text and Academic Authors Association
  • Readable style, complemented by anecdotes and footnotes
  • Enables the reader to more readily grasp the biological and clinical relevance of the subject
  • Color illustrations enable easy visualization of molecular mechanisms


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. 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

Table of Contents

Chapter 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

Chapter 2. Basic Coordination Chemistry for Biologists


Types of Chemical Bonds

Hard and Soft Ligands

Coordination Geometry

Redox Chemistry

Chapter 3. Structural and Molecular Biology for Chemists


The Structural Building Blocks of Proteins

Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and Quaternary Structure of Proteins

Secondary and Tertiary Structures of Nucleic Acids

Chapter 4. Biological Ligands for Metal Ions


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


Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 7. Metal Assimilation Pathways


Inorganic Biogeochemistry

Metal Assimilation in Bacteria

Metal Assimilation in Fungi and Plants

Metal Assimilation in Mammals

Chapter 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

Chapter 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+

Chapter 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

Chapter 11. Calcium – Cellular Signalling

Introduction – Comparison of Ca2+ and Mg2+

The Discovery of a Role for Ca2+ Other than as a Structural Component

An Overview of Ca2+ Regulation and Signalling

Ca2+ and Cell Signalling

Chapter 12. Zinc – Lewis Acid and Gene Regulator


Mononuclear Zinc Enzymes

Multinuclear and Cocatalytic Zinc Enzymes

Zinc Fingers DNA- and RNA-Binding Motifs

Chapter 13. Iron


Iron Chemistry

Iron and Oxygen

The Biological Importance of Iron

Biological Functions of Iron-Containing Proteins


Other Iron-Containing Proteins

Dinuclear Nonhaem Iron Enzymes

Chapter 14. Copper – Coping with Dioxygen


Copper Chemistry and Biochemistry

Copper-Containing Enzymes in Oxygen Activation and Reduction

Mars and Venus – The Role of Copper in Iron Metabolism

Chapter 15. Nickel and Cobalt


Nickel Enzymes

Methyl-coenzyme M Reductase

Cobalamine and Cobalt Proteins

B12-dependent Isomerases

B12-dependent Methyltransferases

Noncorrin Co-containing Enzymes

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 18. Non-metals in Biology


The Major Biogeochemical Cycles

Chapter 19. Biomineralisation


Principles of Solid-State Biological Inorganic Chemistry

An Overview of the Major Classes of Biominerals

Chapter 20. Metals in Brain


The Brain and the Blood–Brain Barrier (BBB)

Sodium, Potassium, and Calcium Channels

Zinc, Copper, and Iron

Concluding Remarks

Chapter 21. Metals and Neurodegeneration


Metal-based Neurodegeneration

Neurodegenerative Diseases Associated with Metals

Chapter 22. Metals in Medicine and Metals as Drugs


Disorders of Metal Metabolism and Homeostasis

Metal-based Drugs

Metallotherapeutics with Lithium

Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Chapter 23. Metals in the Environment

Introduction Environmental Pollution and Heavy Metals





Metals as Poisons


No. of pages:
© Elsevier 2012
25th January 2012
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Robert Crichton

Robert Crichton is Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Science, Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. He has some forty years experience in teaching the subject, and published over 200 scientific articles and a number of books. Since 1985 he has organized a series of over twenty advanced courses on Metals in Biology in Louvain-la-Neuve, which have trained over 1300 doctoral and post-doctoral students, many of whom are today leaders in the field. The Second Edition of Biological Inorganic Chemistry: An Introduction to Molecular Structure and Function received the 2013 TEXTY Textbook Excellence Award in Physical Sciences from the Text and Academic Authors Association.

Affiliations and Expertise

Unite de Biochimie, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium


2013 Textbook Excellence Awards (Texty), Text and Academic Authors Association


"…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

Ratings and Reviews