Role(s) of metal(s) in proteins?

Josh jj_barnett at
Sat Oct 20 08:55:30 EST 2001

Thanks Francesco. Just wondering, can the role of metals in proteins be
simply classified as i)structual amd ii)catalytic, or are there more
functions. I have found a few examples of structural function as you have
described with the Mg2+, but can anyone describe an example of  a catalytic
function. ie a catalytic triad of aa's, electron clouds, proton donation

"Francesco Pisani" <real_tlhingan at> wrote in message
news:9q7da1$n23$1 at
> Think of "metal ions involved in proteins" as a physically minuscule
> positive charge that can fit just about anywhere around the protein
> and facilitate interactions of protein domains of same electrical
> charge. Indeed, a divalent cation like Mg++ can allow two negatively
> charged protein domains or amino acids to be physically near eachother
> by locally cancelling out their electrical repulsion.
>  Important biological molecules also have a metal ion at their core to
> coordonate/stabilize the whole molecule. Hemoglobbin has an iron ion
> in the center "cage", and chlorophyll has (if I'm not mistaken) a
> magnesium ion.
> Francesco

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