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Following the discovery of the first specific and essential role of nickel in biology in 1975 (the dinuclear active site of the enzyme urease) [1], nickel has become a major player in bioinorganic chemistry, particularly in microorganisms, having impacts on both environmental settings and human pathologies. At least nine classes of enzymes are now known to require nickel in their active sites, including catalysis of redox [(Ni,Fe) hydrogenases, carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, methyl coenzyme M reductase, acetyl coenzyme A synthase, superoxide dismutase] and nonredox (glyoxalase I, acireductone dioxygenase, lactate isomerase, urease) chemistries. In addition, the dark side of nickel has been illuminated in regard to its participation in microbial pathogenesis, cancer, and immune responses. Knowledge gleaned from the investigations of inorganic chemists into the coordination and redox chemistry of this element have boosted the understanding of these biological roles of nickel in each context. In this issue, eleven contributions, including four original research articles and seven critical reviews, will update the reader on the broad spectrum of the role of nickel in biology.




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Bioinorganic Chemistry of Nickel




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