Copper and the biological evolution.

Entrez PubMed: "Copper is contained in a number of enzymes and proteins. A remarkable feature is that except for the electron-carrying blue copper proteins (azurin and plastocyanin) and copper-containing cytochrome c oxidase found in some cyanobacteria and some aerobic bacteria, all copper enzymes and proteins are found only in eukaryotes. In the early and middle precambrian period when the stationary oxygen pressure in the atmosphere was quite low, copper existed as either metallic or cuprous sulfides which are very insoluble in aqueous media; thus copper might have been unavailable to organisms. The time when copper became Cu(II) upon rise of the atmospheric oxygen pressure and thus became available to organisms seems to be in the middle of Proteozoic era when first eukaryotic organisms seem to have appeared on earth. Thus copper may be considered to be an indicator element for the atmospheric evolution (switching from anoxygenic to oxygenic) and the evolution of higher organisms (eukaryotes)."

Ochiai EI. Copper and the biological evolution. Biosystems. 1983;16(2):81-6.

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