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J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2002 Oct;34(5):339-49.

Structural and functional insights of Wilson disease copper-transporting ATPase.

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Department of Structural Biology and Biochemistry Research, The Hospital for Sick, Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Wilson disease is an autosomal recessive disorder of copper metabolism. The gene for this disorder has been cloned and identified to encode a copper-transporting ATPase (ATP7B), a member of a large family of cation transporters, the P-type ATPases. In addition to the core elements common to all P-type ATPases, the Wilson copper-transporting ATPase has a large cytoplasmic N-terminus comprised six heavy metal associated (HMA) domains, each of which contains the copper-binding sequence motif GMT/HCXXC. Extensive studies addressing the functional, regulatory, and structural aspects of heavy metal transport by heavy metal transporters in general, have offered great insights into copper transport by Wilson copper-transporting ATPase. The findings from these studies have been used together with homology modeling of the Wilson disease copper-transporting ATPases based on the X-ray structure of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium-ATPase, to present a hypothetical model of the mechanism of copper transport by copper-transporting ATPases.

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