While copper-carbon bonds are well appreciated in organometallic synthetic chemistry, such occurrences are less known in biological settings. By far, the greatest incidence of copper-carbon moieties is in bioinorganic research aimed at probing copper protein active site structure and mechanism; for example, carbon monoxide (CO) binding as a surrogate for O2. Using infrared (IR) spectroscopy, CO coordination to cuprous sites has proven to be an extremely useful tool for determining active site copper ligation (e.g., donor atom number and type). The coupled (hemocyanin, tyrosinase, catechol oxidase) and non-coupled (peptidylglycine α-hydroxylating monooxygenase, dopamine β-monooxygenase) binuclear copper proteins as well as the heme-copper oxidases (HCOs) have been studied extensively via this method. In addition, environmental changes within the vicinity of the active site have been determined based on shifts in the CO stretching frequencies, such as for copper amine oxidases, nitrite reductases and again in the binuclear proteins and HCOs. In many situations, spectroscopic monitoring has provided kinetic and thermodynamic data on CuI-CO formation and CO dissociation from copper(I); recently, processes occurring on a femtosecond timescale have been reported. Copper-cyano moieties have also been useful for obtaining insights into the active site structure and mechanisms of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, azurin, nitrous oxide reductase, and multi-copper oxidases. Cyanide is a good ligand for both copper(I) and copper(II), therefore multiple physical-spectroscopic techniques can be applied. A more obvious occurrence of a “Cu-C” moiety was recently described for a CO dehydrogenase which contains a novel molybdenum-copper catalytic site. A bacterial copper chaperone (CusF) was recently established to have a novel d-π interaction comprised of copper(I) with the arene containing side-chain of a tryptophan amino acid residue. Meanwhile, good evidence exists that a plant receptor site (ETR1) utilizes copper(I) to sense ethylene, a growth hormone. A copper olfactory receptor has also been suggested. All of the above mentioned occurrences or uses of carbon-containing substrates and/or probes are reviewed and discussed within the framework of copper proteins and other relevant systems.