Nickel - Biological Role

Biological Role

Although not recognized until the 1970s, nickel plays important roles in the biology of microorganisms and plants. In fact, urease (an enzyme that assists in the hydrolysis of urea) contains nickel. The NiFe-hydrogenases contain nickel in addition to iron-sulfur clusters. Such -hydrogenases characteristically oxidise H2. A nickel-tetrapyrrole coenzyme, Cofactor F430, is present in the methyl coenzyme M reductase, which powers methanogenic archaea. One of the carbon monoxide dehydrogenase enzymes consists of an Fe-Ni-S cluster. Other nickel-containing enzymes include a rare bacterial class of superoxide dismutase and glyoxalase I enzymes in bacteria and several parasitic eukaryotic trypanosomal parasites (this enzyme in higher organisms, including yeast and mammals, uses divalent zinc, Zn2+).

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