Copper (Cu) is an essential trace element in many biological processes. Cu is firmly attached to specific proteins and may serve as catalyst in electron transfer or the binding of gaseous molecules such as oxygen. Highly selective transporters and chaperones guide Cu to their cellular destinations. The importance of Cu in human nutrition is documented by the existence of hereditary diseases where the inborn mutations lead to severe deficiencies in Cu metabolism and human development. A thorough understanding of these processes is needed as a basis for adequate therapies.
At higher concentrations, copper is an environmental poison. This property has been exploited for the controlled use of Cu as an antibacterial or antifungal disinfectant. Especially microbes and plants, however, have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to sense Cu and defend themselves by inducing copper resistance proteins.
Latest discoveries on these fascinating aspects, and many more, will be reported by worldwide leading researchers on the 8th International Copper Meeting 2012. Please contact the organizers for further details and for information on sponsoring opportunities.