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Bacterial CopZ proteins deliver copper to P1B-type Cu+-ATPases that are homologous to the human Wilson and Menkes disease proteins. The genome of the hyperthermophile Archaeoglobus fulgidus encodes a putative CopZ copper chaperone that contains an unusual cysteine rich N-terminal domain of 130 amino acids in addition to a C-terminal copper-binding domain with a conserved CXXC motif. The N-terminal domain (CopZ-NT) is homologous to proteins found only in extremophiles and is the only such protein that is fused to a copper chaperone. Surprisingly, optical, electron paramagnetic resonance, and X-ray absorption spectroscopic data indicate the presence of a [2Fe-2S] cluster in CopZ-NT. The intact CopZ protein binds two copper ions, one in each domain. The 1.8 Å resolution crystal structure of CopZ-NT reveals that the [2Fe-2S] cluster is housed within a novel fold and that the protein also binds a zinc ion at a four cysteine site. CopZ can deliver Cu+ to the A. fulgidus CopA N-terminal metal binding domain and is capable of reducing Cu2+ to Cu+. This unique fusion of a redox-active domain with a CXXC-containing copper chaperone domain is relevant to the evolution of copper homeostatic mechanisms and suggests new models for copper trafficking.


Biochemistry | Molecular Biology


This is the author's post-print version, previously appearing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.,2007 282: 25950-25959.