Metals

Metals are electropositive chemical elements, and as such have a propensity to form cations, which they are found as – often bound in metalloproteins – in living systems. Many metals play important roles in living systems; for instance sodium and potassium, which are important for maintaining osmotic equilibrium, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and copper.

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Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    DNAzymes are attractive catalysts for biomedical and biotechnological applications, but their catalytic mechanism remained obscure. This work investigates the detailed reaction mechanism of RNA ligation catalysed by the 9DB1 DNAzyme, revealing that it resembles those of natural protein enzymes.

    • Juan Aranda
    • , Montserrat Terrazas
    • , Hansel Gómez
    • , Núria Villegas
    •  & Modesto Orozco
    Nature Catalysis 2, 544-552
  • Research | | open

    Metal ions play essential roles in myriads of biological processes, from catalytic co-factors to supporting protein and nucleic acid structures. Here the authors use long-wavelength X-ray diffraction to locate hundreds of potassium ions taking part in the formation of rRNA tertiary structure, mediating rRNA–protein interactions and supporting ribosomal protein structures and function.

    • Alexey Rozov
    • , Iskander Khusainov
    • , Kamel El Omari
    • , Ramona Duman
    • , Vitaliy Mykhaylyk
    • , Marat Yusupov
    • , Eric Westhof
    • , Armin Wagner
    •  & Gulnara Yusupova
  • Research | | open

    • Sanjeev Kiran Gotru
    • , Johanna P. van Geffen
    • , Magdolna Nagy
    • , Elmina Mammadova-Bach
    • , Julia Eilenberger
    • , Julia Volz
    • , Georgi Manukjan
    • , Harald Schulze
    • , Leonard Wagner
    • , Stefan Eber
    • , Christian Schambeck
    • , Carsten Deppermann
    • , Sanne Brouns
    • , Paquita Nurden
    • , Andreas Greinacher
    • , Ulrich Sachs
    • , Bernhard Nieswandt
    • , Heike M. Hermanns
    • , Johan W. M. Heemskerk
    •  & Attila Braun
  • Research |

    Mitochondrial energy metabolism regulates proteotoxic stress tolerance, exposing a newly discovered sensitivity to the small molecule elesclomol, which induces FDX1-mediated, copper-dependent cell death.

    • Peter Tsvetkov
    • , Alexandre Detappe
    • , Kai Cai
    • , Heather R. Keys
    • , Zarina Brune
    • , Weiwen Ying
    • , Prathapan Thiru
    • , Mairead Reidy
    • , Guillaume Kugener
    • , Jordan Rossen
    • , Mustafa Kocak
    • , Nora Kory
    • , Aviad Tsherniak
    • , Sandro Santagata
    • , Luke Whitesell
    • , Irene M. Ghobrial
    • , John L. Markley
    • , Susan Lindquist
    •  & Todd R. Golub
  • Research |

    Natural hydrogenases exclusively utilize Ni and/or Fe to activate or produce hydrogen. Now, a catalytically active [Mn]-hydrogenase has been prepared by incorporating a synthetic Mn complex into the apoenzyme of [Fe]-Hydrogenase. The semi-synthetic [Mn]-hydrogenase shows higher activity than the corresponding Fe analogue.

    • Hui-Jie Pan
    • , Gangfeng Huang
    • , Matthew D. Wodrich
    • , Farzaneh Fadaei Tirani
    • , Kenichi Ataka
    • , Seigo Shima
    •  & Xile Hu
    Nature Chemistry 11, 669-675
  • Research |

    Iron homoeostasis is tightly orchestrated to avoid toxic iron overload. Here Lim and colleagues show that iron excess activates Nrf2 via mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, enhancing the expression of Bmp6 in liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, which in turn promotes hepcidin expression by hepatocytes, decreasing systemic iron levels.

    • Pei Jin Lim
    • , Tiago L. Duarte
    • , João Arezes
    • , Daniel Garcia-Santos
    • , Amel Hamdi
    • , Sant-Rayn Pasricha
    • , Andrew E. Armitage
    • , Hema Mehta
    • , Sarah Wideman
    • , Ana G. Santos
    • , Andreia Santos-Gonçalves
    • , Alireza Morovat
    • , Jim R. Hughes
    • , Elizabeth Soilleux
    • , Chia-Yu Wang
    • , Abraham L. Bayer
    • , Paul Klenerman
    • , Christian B. Willberg
    • , Richard C. Hartley
    • , Michael P. Murphy
    • , Jodie L. Babitt
    • , Prem Ponka
    • , Graça Porto
    •  & Hal Drakesmith
    Nature Metabolism 1, 519-531

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    A synthetic DNA enzyme catalyses the formation of a native phosphodiester bond between two RNA fragments, but the molecular details of the mechanism remained elusive. Research using computational and biochemical approaches now suggests that the DNA enzyme recruits two magnesium ions to assist in the catalysis of RNA ligation.

    • Claudia Höbartner
    Nature Catalysis 2, 483-484
  • News and Views |

    Living organisms face the dual challenge of acquiring enough iron to perform biological functions while preventing toxic iron accretion. A study now shows that sensing of iron-catalysed free radicals by a druggable gene-regulatory pathway helps the body avoid iron poisoning.

    • Sandro Altamura
    •  & Bruno Galy
    Nature Metabolism 1, 501-502
  • News and Views |

    The PIVOTAL trial shows that proactive intravenous (i.v.) iron administration reduces cardiovascular events and deaths, transfusions and erythropoiesis-stimulating agent doses and does not increase infections in patients on haemodialysis. These findings upend the warnings of guidelines and experts about the dangers of i.v. iron and prove that maintaining low iron stores is harmful.

    • Daniel W. Coyne
  • Research Highlights |

    In a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, calcium enters neurons via ‘nanoruptures’ in the cell membrane and accumulates in the cytoplasm of axons, driving axonal degeneration.

    • Natasha Bray