Practical Approaches to Biological Inorganic Chemistry

Practical Approaches to Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 1st Edition

Practical Approaches to Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 1st Edition,Robert Crichton,Ricardo Louro,ISBN9780444563590





Explains the use of spectroscopic and related methods to investigate complex biological structures containing metal atoms

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Key Features

  • Many colour illustrations enable easier visualization of molecular mechanisms and structures
  • Worked examples and problems are included to illustrate and test the reader’s understanding of each technique
  • Written by a multi-author team who use and teach the most important techniques used today to analyse complex biological structures


The book reviews the use of spectroscopic and related methods to investigate the complex structures and mechanisms of biological inorganic systems that contain metals. Each chapter presents an overview of the technique including relevant theory, clearly explains what it is and how it works and then presents how the technique is actually used to evaluate biological structures. Practical examples and problems are included to illustrate each technique and to aid understanding. Designed for students and researchers who want to learn both the basics, and more advanced aspects of bioinorganic chemistry.


Postgraduates or postdocs plus chemical and biological researchers investigating biological structures

Robert Crichton

Unité de Biochimie, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium Prof. Crichton, originally from the UK, is well known in the inorganic biology community and is invited to speak at many international conferences. He has published 3 books in this area (others on biochemistry of iron and metal-based neruodegeneration) and has taught over 750 doctoral and post-doctoral students. The book contains an essential distillation of the knowledge and material he had used to teach and lecture over many years.

Affiliations and Expertise

Unité de Biochimie, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Ricardo Louro

Affiliations and Expertise

Inorganic Biochemistry and NMR Laboratory ITQB-UNL Av da Republica (EAN), Portugal

Practical Approaches to Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 1st Edition


Chapter 1. An Overview of the Roles of Metals in Biological Systems

Introduction: Which Metals Ions and Why?

Some Physicochemical Considerations on Alkali Metals

Na+ and K+ – Functional Ionic Gradients

Mg2+ – Phosphate Metabolism

Ca2+ and Cell Signalling

Zinc – Lewis Acid and Gene Regulator

Iron and Copper – Dealing with Oxygen

Ni and Co – Evolutionary Relics

Mn – Water Splitting and Oxygen Generation

Mo and V – Nitrogen Fixation


Chapter 2. Introduction to Ligand Field Theory


Crystal Field and Ligand Field Theory

MO Theory of Transition Metal Complexes

Concluding Remarks

Further Reading

Chapter 3. EPR Spectroscopy

Why EPR Spectroscopy?

What Is EPR Spectroscopy?


A Comparison of EPR Versus NMR

EPR Spectrometer

What (Bio)molecules Give EPR?

Basic Theory and Simulation of EPR


Concentration Determination

Hyperfine Interactions

High-Spin Systems

Applications Overview


Chapter 4. Introduction to Biomolecular NMR and Metals


Properties of the Matter Relevant to NMR

Energy of NMR Transitions

Macroscopic Magnetisation

Acting on Magnetisation


An NMR Experiment

The Chemical Shift

Coupling: The Interaction Between Magnetic Nuclei

Chemical Exchange

The Nuclear Overhauser Effect

Multidimensional NMR

Metals in Biomolecular NMR Spectra


An NMR Spectrometer and How the Macroscopic Magnetisation and Relaxation are Measured

Care in Obtaining NMR Spectra of Paramagnetic Samples



Useful Physical Constants

Chapter 5. 57Fe-Mössbauer Spectroscopy and Basic Interpretation of Mössbauer Parameters



57Fe Hyperfine Interactions

Isomer Shift as Informative Hyperfine Interaction

Electric Quadrupole Splitting

Magnetic Hyperfine Splitting

Combined Hyperfine Splitting

Applications – Selected Examples



Chapter 6. X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy in Biology (BioXAS)

Introduction to Biological X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy (BioXAS)

An introductory example: Mo, Cu, AND Se in CO-dehydrogenase from Oligotropha carboxidovorans

Outline of the BioXAS Chapter


X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy: X-ray-induced Electron Diffraction

Phase Shifts and Effect of Atom Type

Plane-Wave and Muffin-Tin Approximation

Multiple Scattering in Biological Systems

Strategy for the Interpretation of EXAFS

Validation and Automation of EXAFS Data Analysis

XANES Simulations with three-dimensional Models

Metal–Metal Distances in Metal Clusters

Non-metal Trace Elements: Halogens

Summary: Strengths and Limitations

Conclusions: Relations with Other Techniques


Chapter 7. Other Spectroscopic Methods for Probing Metal Centres in Biological Systems

Optical Spectroscopy

Magnetic Circular Dichroism

Vibrational Spectroscopies

IR Spectroscopy

Raman Spectroscopy


Chapter 8. An Introduction to Electrochemical Methods for the Functional Analysis of Metalloproteins



Electrochemistry Under Equilibrium Conditions: Potentiometric Titrations

Dynamic Electrochemistry

Diffusion-Controlled Voltammetry

Voltammetry of Adsorbed Proteins: Protein Film Voltammetry (PFV)

Catalytic Voltammetry and Chronoamperometry with Adsorbed Redox Enzymes


PFV Quiz




Chapter 9. X-ray Crystallography



Protein Crystallisation

Data Collection

Phase Determination

Model Building and Refinement

Structure Analysis and Model Quality

Case Study


Purification and Crystallisation

X-ray Diffraction Data Collection and Phasing

Structure Refinement

Structure Analysis

General Conclusions



Chapter 10. Genetic and Molecular Biological Approaches for the Study of Metals in Biology

Introduction and Aims

Basic Genetics and Molecular Genetics: Origins and Definitions

Setting Up: Regulations, Equipment, Methods and Resources

Approaches and Systems

Molecular Biology Tools and Methods

Genetic and Molecular Genetic Methods


The OMICS Revolution

Illustrative Examples in the Genetics and Molecular Biology of N2 Fixation



Quotes and reviews

"Editors Crichton and Louro offer this new bio-inorganic chemistry text, focusing largely on analytical techniques…Strategic technique selection is emphasized throughout, for example, matching precision and expense of analysis to the quality of the sample."--Reference & Research Book News, October 2013

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