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J Mol Evol. 2001 Dec;53(6):622-33.

Independent evolution of heavy metal-associated domains in copper chaperones and copper-transporting atpases.

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National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA.


Copper chaperones are small cytoplasmic proteins that bind intracellular copper (Cu) and deliver it to Cu-dependent enzymes such as cytochrome oxidase, superoxide dismutase, and amine oxidase. Copper chaperones are similar in sequence and structure to the Cu-binding heavy metal-associated (HMA) domains of Cu-transporting ATPases (Cu-ATPases), and the genes for copper chaperones and Cu-ATPases are often located in the same operon. Phylogenetic analysis shows that Cu chaperones and HMA domains of Cu-ATPases represent ancient and distinct lineages that have evolved largely independently since their initial separation. Copper chaperone-Cu-ATPase operons appear to have evolved independently in different prokaryotic lineages, probably due to a strong selective pressure for coexpression of these genes.

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