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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jul 17;98(15):8531-5. Epub 2001 Jul 3.

Location and properties of metal-binding sites on the human prion protein.

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1
Medical Research Council Prion Unit, Department of Neurogenetics, Imperial College School of Medicine at St. Mary's, London W2 1NY, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Although a functional role in copper binding has been suggested for the prion protein, evidence for binding at affinities characteristic of authentic metal-binding proteins has been lacking. By presentation of copper(II) ions in the presence of the weak chelator glycine, we have now characterized two high-affinity binding sites for divalent transition metals within the human prion protein. One is in the N-terminal octapeptide-repeat segment and has a K(d) for copper(II) of 10(-14) M, with other metals (Ni(2+), Zn(2+), and Mn(2+)) binding three or more orders of magnitude more weakly. However, NMR and fluorescence data reveal a previously unreported second site around histidines 96 and 111, a region of the molecule known to be crucial for prion propagation. The K(d) for copper(II) at this site is 4 x 10(-14) M, whereas nickel(II), zinc(II), and manganese(II) bind 6, 7, and 10 orders of magnitude more weakly, respectively, regardless of whether the protein is in its oxidized alpha-helical (alpha-PrP) or reduced beta-sheet (beta-PrP) conformation. A role for prion protein (PrP) in copper metabolism or transport seems likely and disturbance of this function may be involved in prion-related neurotoxicity.

PMID:
11438695
PMCID:
PMC37470
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.151038498
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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