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Biochemistry. 1994 Aug 16;33(32):9566-77.

Mixed Cu+ and Zn2+ coordination in the DNA-binding domain of the AMT1 transcription factor from Candida glabrata.

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Department of Medicine, University of Utah Health Science Center, Salt Lake City 84132.


AMT1 is the transcription factor required for Cu-induced expression of metallothionein genes in the yeast Candida glabrata. The copper-binding, DNA-binding domain of AMT1 has been purified after expression of an AMT1 synthetic gene in bacteria and was confirmed as active in a gel shift assay. The Cu-activated AMT1 was shown to contain a Cu(+)-thiolate tetracopper center and a single Zn2+ site. AMT1 is purified as a Cu-Zn protein from bacterial cultures grown in the presence of CuSO4. Chemical analysis suggested that 4.2 +/- 0.2 and 1.2 +/- 0.2 molar equiv copper and zinc ions bound, respectively. Electrospray mass spectrometry was used to verify that a uniform species was present with 4 Cu+ ions and 1 Zn2+ ion bound per AMT1 molecule. Cu+ binding to form a tetracopper center occurs cooperatively as shown by electrospray MS of apoAMT1 samples reconstituted with increasing equivalency of Cu+. Copper-thiolate coordination was indicated by Cu-S charge-transfer transitions in the ultraviolet, luminescence typical of Cu-thiolate clusters and EXAFS. Analysis of the EXAFS of CuZnAMT1 revealed predominantly trigonal Cu+ coordination and the presence of a polycopper cluster by virtue of a short Cu-Cu distance of 2.7 A. Zn K-edge EXAFS of Cu4Zn1AMT1 and electronic spectroscopy of AMT1 with Co2+ substituted for the single Zn2+ ion are consistent with tetrahedral Zn2+ coordination with thiolate ligands. The Cu-activated AMT1 exhibited a conformation distinct from that of metal-free AMT1 as shown by circular dichroism. DNA binding by AMT1 was dependent on the tetracopper center but was independent of occupancy of the Zn2+ site. This is the first report of a single, uniform tetracopper center in a metal-activated transcription factor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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