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Metal Biology Takes Flight: The Study of Metal Homeostasis and Detoxification in Insects

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Metals such as copper, iron, manganese, and zinc are clearly required for proper metabolism and development, while imbalances can lead to systemic dysfunction and disease. As a result, organisms have evolved complex genetic systems for the regulation of metal levels, including import, export, and ...

Metals such as copper, iron, manganese, and zinc are clearly required for proper metabolism and development, while imbalances can lead to systemic dysfunction and disease. As a result, organisms have evolved complex genetic systems for the regulation of metal levels, including import, export, and sequestration of metals within cells and sub-cellular compartments.

Recent health-relevant findings related to metals place new emphasis on the importance of understanding metal biology, including links to neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury, cardiovascular health, diabetes, and lifespan. Moreover, the adaptation of pests to metal-polluted environments is increasing their range, exerting impact on the prevalence of human disease. Altogether, diverse aspects of metal biology are relevant to human health.

The study of metal biology in genetically tractable model and non-model insects, including using genetic and transcriptomic approaches, has the potential to greatly expand our understanding of metal biology. For example, the results of such studies might point to new possible therapeutic interventions for neurological and other human diseases, as well as new strategies for insect disease vector control.

We welcome submissions that link insect studies with metal biology, including the use of any insect system to uncover fundamental aspects of metal homeostasis and detoxification; the use of Drosophila models of disease to study metal-related aspects of human disease; and studies in non-model insect species relevant to adaptation to metal-rich environments.

Submissions may include original research articles, reviews, methods papers, protocols, or technology reports.

Authors with questions on this topic, or possible contributions to it, are encouraged to let our office (genetics@frontiersin.org) or the Topic Editors know.


Keywords: Metal Homeostasis, Detoxification, Metal Biology, Insects


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