Biology as Poetry: Immunology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group


Element possessing 16 protons per atom and 6 valence electrons.

On the periodic table of elements sulfur is found directly beneath oxygen. Consequently, sulfur's properties are similar to those of oxygen, though with the obvious caveat that sulfur is heavier than oxygen and in fact a solid at room temperature.

Biologically, sulfur is important because it is found in the amino acids methionine and cysteine (as well as cystine), and because it is found in H2S, that is, hydrogen sulfide, which is both the odor of rotten eggs and a poisonous gas (see also mustard gas).

Sulfur is the key component of sulfhydryl groups, the presence of which creates a thiol. the amino acid cyteine is a thiol. Coenzyme A, which is used during the pyruvate oxydation step of cellular respiration, also is a thiol as are additional coenzymes.

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