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Protein metalation in biology

Foster, Andrew W. and Young, Tessa R. and Chivers, Peter T. and Robinson, Nigel J. (2022) 'Protein metalation in biology.', Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, 66 . p. 102095.


Inorganic metals supplement the chemical repertoire of organic molecules, especially proteins. This requires the correct metals to associate with proteins at metalation. Protein mismetalation typically occurs when excesses of unbound metals compete for a binding site ex vivo. However, in biology, excesses of metal-binding sites typically compete for limiting amounts of exchangeable metals. Here, we summarise mechanisms of metal homeostasis that sustain optimal metal availabilities in biology. We describe recent progress to understand metalation by comparing the strength of metal binding to a protein versus the strength of binding to competing sites inside cells.

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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:07 December 2021
Date of first online publication:08 November 2021
Date first made open access:07 December 2021

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