The teleos of metallo-reduction and metallo-oxidation in eukaryotic iron and copper trafficking
Eukaryotic cells, whether free-living or organismal, rely on metallo-reductases to process environmental ferric iron and cupric copper prior to uptake. In addition, some free-living eukaryotes (e.g. fungi and algae) couple ferri-reduction to ferro-oxidation, a process catalyzed by a small cohort of multi-copper oxidases; in these organisms, the ferric iron product is a ligand for cell iron uptake via a ferric iron permease. In addition to their support of iron uptake in lower eukaryotes, ferroxidases support ferrous iron efflux in Chordata; in this process the release of the ferrous iron from the efflux transporter is catalyzed by its ferroxidation. Last, ferroxidases also catalyze the oxidation of cuprous copper and, as metallo-oxidases, mirror the dual activity of the metallo-reductases. This Perspective examines the teleos of the yin–yang of this redox cycling of iron and copper in their metabolism.