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FEBS Lett. 2006 Feb 6;580(3):795-800. Epub 2006 Jan 9.

Solution structure and dynamics of human metallothionein-3 (MT-3).

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Department of Chemistry and Open Laboratory of Chemical Biology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, PR China.


Alzheimer's disease is characterized by progressive loss of neurons accompanied by the formation of intraneural neurofibrillary tangles and extracellular amyloid plaques. Human neuronal growth inhibitory factor, classified as metallothionein-3 (MT-3), was found to be related to the neurotrophic activity promoting cortical neuron survival and dendrite outgrowth in the cell culture studies. We have determined the solution structure of the alpha-domain of human MT-3 (residues 32-68) by multinuclear and multidimensional NMR spectroscopy in combination with the molecular dynamic simulated annealing approach. The human MT-3 shows two metal-thiolate clusters, one in the N-terminus (beta-domain) and one in the C-terminus (alpha-domain). The overall fold of the alpha-domain is similar to that of mouse MT-3. However, human MT-3 has a longer loop in the acidic hexapeptide insertion than that of mouse MT-3. Surprisingly, the backbone dynamics of the protein revealed that the beta-domain exhibits similar internal motion to the alpha-domain, although the N-terminal residues are more flexible. Our results may provide useful information for understanding the structure-function relationship of human MT-3.

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