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Nat Prod Rep. 2010 May;27(5):695-710. doi: 10.1039/b906678k. Epub 2010 Mar 24.

Molecular recognition in copper trafficking.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Florence, Fiorentino, Italy. banci@cerm.unifi.it


From the basic export of unwanted metal ions in simple organisms to the complex orchestration of metal handling and usage in higher eukaryotes, cellular systems are based on a variety of molecular mechanisms that constrain the right metal to bind to the right protein partner at the right time when needed. A failure to overcome the challenges inherent in this task can lead to pathological states that compromise the life of the cell. This is indeed the case with copper, a metal ion that is essential but which can however also create toxic effects when its intracellular concentration and distribution are not properly controlled. Research in this field increasingly indicates that a subtle interplay between metal coordination chemistry and protein-protein interactions finely tunes molecular recognition.

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