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FEBS Lett. 2001 Feb 23;491(1-2):76-80.

Zinc and copper bind to unique sites of histatin 5.

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Boston University Medical Center, Department of Periodontology and Oral Biology, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Metal binding has been suggested to be relevant in the antifungal and antibacterial mechanism of histatin 5, a human salivary protein. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra were obtained to investigate the specificity of metal binding to the seven histidyl, one aspartyl and one glutamyl amino acid side-chains of histatin 5 in aqueous solutions. Three C(epsilon1)-H histidyl and the C(gamma)-H glutamyl resonances of histatin 5 were selectively altered in spectra of solutions containing three equivalents of zinc. Copper binding to histatin 5 resulted in a reduced intensity of C(beta)-H aspartyl resonances, while no evidence for calcium binding was found. These results indicate that zinc binding to histatin 5 involves His-15 present within the -H-E-X-X-H- zinc binding motif, and copper binding occurs within the N-terminal D-S-H-, ATCUN motif.

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