Inorganic Biochemistry
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleNWI-MOL105
Credits (ECTS)3
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Science; Moleculaire Wetenschappen;
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dr. M.C. Feiters
Other course modules lecturer
dr. M.C. Feiters
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. M.C. Feiters
Other course modules lecturer
dr. M.C. Feiters
Other course modules lecturer
dr. L.J.J. Laarhoven
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2020
KW2  (02/11/2020 to 24/01/2021)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
At the end of the course the student is able to:
  • identify the essential trace elements in living cells and explain how acquisition, transport and storage occur.
  • explain some elementary concepts of coordination complexes and their main properties as well as of oxidation/reduction chemistry, and apply them to biological systems.
  • explain the roles of transition metal ions in important biological processes, namely electron transfer in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen, binding and activation of molecular oxygen and reactive oxygen species, hydrolysis, and controlled radical reactions.
  • recognize the most important metallo-enzymes and metal-containing cofactors and coenzymes, understand how they are built up, and know their most important functions and properties.
In the inorganic biochemistry course the role of trace elements in biology will be discussed. The lectures start with an introduction on coordination chemistry and inorganic redox reactions. Then we will look into the role of metal ions in biological electron transfer. Next metallo-proteins and metallo-enzymes are introduced, and we will investigate for which properties certain metal ions were selected for certain roles in the most important biological cycles in the course of the evolution. As many metals interact both with a protein and an organic cofactor, such as iron and porphyrin in heme proteins, or cobalt and corrin in coenzyme B12-dependent enzymes, we shall also zoom in on the structure and function of such cofactors.
Subsequently the oxygen housekeeping of aerobic organisms will be discussed.  Many biological processes are coupled to the respiration cycle of aerobic organisms, and transition metal complexes are crucial for the formation, binding, transport, and activation of the life gas oxygen. Finally the metal housekeeping in living organisms and drugs containing metals will be discussed. By looking at the most important examples, we learn how metal ions are taken up, transported, stored, and disposed of by living cells, and how biominerals are formed.

Instructional Modes

Presumed foreknowledge
Structure of Atoms and Molecules (NWI-MOL079), Reactions and Kinetics (NWI-MOL007), and Biomolecules (NWI-MOL008). This is a course in the programme 'Molecular Life Sciences'.
Test information
Written exam

Required materials
Handbook of Metalloproteins, via Wiley Online Library: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/book/10.1002/0470028637. Or University Library: http://sfx.ubn.ru.nl/sfx_local/?sid=sfx:e_collection&isbn=
Mark Weller, Tina Overton, Jonathan Rourke, and Fraser Armstrong, Inorganic Chemistry, 6th Edition (2014), Oxford University Press

Instructional modes

Test weight1
Test typeExam
OpportunitiesBlock KW2, Block KW3