Metal ions are essential for proper functioning of the heart, nerve and muscle cells, transport of oxygen, signaling and act as enzyme cofactors. Maintaining metal homeostasis is therefore vital for all organisms, and involves an intricate interplay of proteins which regulate the trafficking of ions, their delivery to specific enzymes, and the modulation of gene expression in response to metal ion availability. Whilst metal ion deficiencies lead to malfunction, accumulation leads to toxicity-associated disorders, including oxidative stress, infection and inflammation, neurodegeneration, diabetes and various cancers. Metals are increasingly used as diagnostic and therapeutic agents—in medical imaging, chemotherapy, and also as a component of drugs.
This Collection will gather articles that offer insight into the function of metals in biological systems, what goes awry when metal ion homeostasis is impaired, as well as research highlighting the application of metal ions in a diagnostic and therapeutic context.