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Plenary Lectures PL.1 Carbon monoxide: evolution, chemical reactivity and biological function

By Roberto Motterlini


The perception that carbon monoxide (CO) is poisonous and life-threatening for mammalian organisms stems from its intrinsic high affinity for the ferrous iron of hemoglobin to form carbonmonoxy-hemoglobin (HbCO), which ultimately leads to impaired oxygen delivery to tissues [1]. However, from evolutionary and chemical perspectives, CO is one of the most essential molecules in the formation of biological components and the origin of primordial cell signaling. Not surprisingly, mammals are continuously exposed to small quantities of CO produced endogenously during the degradation of heme by constitutive (HO-2) and inducible (HO-1) heme oxygenase enzymes. We have gradually learnt that heme oxygenase-derived carbon monoxide (CO) serves as signaling mediator in a wide array of physiological functions to the extent that the beneficia

Year: 2014
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