Light-Activated Caged-Iron Chelator for Skin Photoprotection based on the Natural Product Pulcherrimic Acid

Project: Research council

Project Details


The purpose of this network is to make the UK the premier destination for research and development that demands Metals in Biology expertise. Metals catalyse the reactions of life and these demands are expected to grow. Some of the earliest discoveries, uncovering metals as vital components of proteins and not mere contaminants, were made in the UK. Today we have world leaders uncovering how cells handle metals and the mechanisms of metal-dependent enzymes. Now is an opportune moment to exploit this knowledge to the benefit of industry and society. UK businesses which will innovate with this knowledge include established world leaders in their sectors and new entrants. Metallo-proteins contribute to bio-energy production, bioremediation, biomedicine, synthesis of high value industrial feed-stocks and more. The metal-handling systems of cells are vital to sustain adequate metal-protein speciation in vivo. As nearly a half of enzymes, perhaps one third of all gene products, are estimated to require metals, the impact of this network will be pervasive. Metal-handling circuits can also be subverted to inhibit microbes. The exploitation of metals and metal-chelators as antimicrobials is a form of bio-mimicry since we are now starting to discover that immune systems manipulate metal-supply to inhibit microbial growth. Indeed, many common antibiotics tightly bind to metals and some antibiotics are closely related to iron-scavenging molecules (siderophores). Metal-supply pathways can be engineered for the manufacture of supplements such as cobalt-requiring vitamin B12 and enzymes with metallo-prosthetic groups. Talented individuals are currently scattered in different UK research communities. The efforts of biologists, chemists, mathematicians, engineers and others will be drawn together by this network to allow effective knowledge and skills transfer with industry and with the relevant regulatory authorities. The network will run for three years with structured workshops, a large community building meeting and additional ad hoc workshops throughout the tenure of the network.
Effective start/end date1/09/1530/06/16


  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council