Scientists have discovered how living organisms – including humans – avoid poisoning from carbon monoxide generated by natural cell processes.
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that can prove fatal at high concentrations; the gas is most commonly associated with faulty domestic heating systems and car fumes, and is often referred to as ‘the silent killer’.
But carbon monoxide – chemical symbol CO – is also produced within our bodies through the normal activity of cells. Scientists have long wondered how organisms manage to control this internal carbon monoxide production so that it does no harm.
University of Manchester researchers, working with colleagues at the University of Liverpool and Eastern Oregon University, have now identified the mechanism whereby cells protect themselves from the toxic effects of the gas at these lower concentrations.
Carbon monoxide molecules should Continue reading