Editorial: Zinc biochemistry, physiology, and homeostasis - recent insights and current trends; W. Maret. n1. Chemistry of zinc(II) fluorophore sensors; E. Kimura, S. Aoki. n2. Fluorescence-based biosensing of zinc using carbonic anhydrase; C.A. Fierke, R.B. Thompson. n3. Cellular zinc sensors: MTF-1 regulation of gene expression; G.K. Andrews. n4. Bacterial zinc transporters and regulators; K. Hantke. n5. Eukaryotic zinc transporters and their regulation; L.A. Gaither, D.J. Eide. n6. Zinc coordination sphere in biochemical zinc sites; D.S. Auld. n7. The role of zinc in caspace activation and apoptotic cell death; A.Q. Truong-Tran, J. Carter, R.E. Ruffin, P.D. Zalewski. n8. Functions of zinc in signaling, proliferation and differentiation of mammalian cells; D. Beyersmann, H. Haase. n9. Brain zinc homeostasis and its importance; A. Takeda. n10. Synaptically released zinc: Physiological functions and pathological effects; J. Frederickson, A. Bush. n11. Extracellular and immunological actions of zinc; L. Rink, P. Gabriel. n12. Zinc Physiology and Biochemistry in Oocytes and Embryos; K.H. Falchuk, M. Montorzi. n13. Zinc metabolism and homeostasis: The application of tracer techniques to human zinc physiology; N.F. Krebs, M. Hambidge.
Chapters in this book review the remarkable advances in the field of zinc biology over the last decade. Zinc is essential for life, in particular for growth and development, through its role in hundreds of zinc enzymes and thousands of zinc proteins. Its catalytic, structural, and regulatory functions in these proteins impact metabolism, gene expression, and signal transduction, including neurotransmission. Among the micronutrients, zinc may rank with iron as to its importance for public health.
The topics covered range from single molecules to cells and to whole organisms: the chemistry, design, and application of fluorophores for the determination of cellular zinc; the role of zinc in proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis of cells; proteins that transport, sense, and distribute zinc and together form a cellular homeostatic system; the coordination chemistry of zinc in metalloproteins; the role of zinc in the brain as a neuromodulator/transmitter; the dependence of the immune system on zinc; zinc homeostasis in the whole human body.