Metalloproteins

A lanthanide secret handshake

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Science  18 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6424, pp. 242
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6424.242-b

Most metal ions in biology have distinct properties determined by atomic number and oxidation state. However, some metals in the lower rows of the periodic table are notorious for mimicking their lighter cousins: Trivalent yttrium and lanthanides, for example, can replace divalent calcium ions in some proteins. Cook et al. determined the solution structure of a protein that has evolved exquisite selectivity for these heavier ions over the lighter calcium. Despite superficial similarity to the calcium-binding protein calmodulin, there are large differences in the overall protein structure, and an additional carboxylic acid ligand is likely crucial for recognition of the heavier ions.

Biochemistry 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b01019 (2018).

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