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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jun;27(2-3):239-61.

Nickel uptake and utilization by microorganisms.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, 6193 Biomedical Physical Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Nickel is an essential nutrient for selected microorganisms where it participates in a variety of cellular processes. Many microbes are capable of sensing cellular nickel ion concentrations and taking up this nutrient via nickel-specific permeases or ATP-binding cassette-type transport systems. The metal ion is specifically incorporated into nickel-dependent enzymes, often via complex assembly processes requiring accessory proteins and additional non-protein components, in some cases accompanied by nucleotide triphosphate hydrolysis. To date, nine nickel-containing enzymes are known: urease, NiFe-hydrogenase, carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, acetyl-CoA decarbonylase/synthase, methyl coenzyme M reductase, certain superoxide dismutases, some glyoxylases, aci-reductone dioxygenase, and methylenediurease. Seven of these enzymes have been structurally characterized, revealing distinct metallocenter environments in each case.

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