772309 Biochemistry of trace elements

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Hofbauer, Stefan
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


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The lecture starts with an overview of the chemical elements in biology, the natural selection of elements and the connection between biological environment and element availability. With basics in complex chemistry (e.g. crystal field theory) and a discussion of biological ligands of metal ions and the chemistry of molecular oxygen and its reduced species the general introduction ends.

In the main part the role of the individual trace elements zinc, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, molybdenum, selenium and the halogens F, Br, I in human metabolism is discussed systematically starting with uptake, distribution, storation and excretion and finally with a description of the most important metalloproteins and their functional role (enzymatic catalysis, gene- and metabolism- regulation, structural role etc.).

Zinc: Lewis acid catalysis and gene regulation

Cobalt: Organometallic chemistry of life

Copper: Extracytoplasmic oxidases and matrix formation

Iron: Redox reactions, oxygen transport and storage, oxygenases (cytochrome P-450), peroxidases, catalases etc.

Manganese: Superoxide dismutases

Nickel: remnant of early life?

Molybdenum: uric acid metabolism (xanthine oxidase)

Selenium: glutathione peroxidase, de-iodination reactions

Halogens: thyroid hormones, mineralization


Previous knowledge expected

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

Knowledge about the chemistry and biochemical function of trace elements (uptake, storage, functionality and excretion) in the context of human metabolism.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.