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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 May 26;95(11):6004-9.

Localization of the Wilson's disease protein product to mitochondria.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR 97201, USA.


Wilson's disease (WND) is an inherited disorder of copper homeostasis characterized by abnormal accumulation of copper in several tissues, particularly in the liver, brain, and kidney. The disease-associated gene encodes a copper-transporting P-type ATPase, the WND protein, the subcellular location of which could be regulated by copper. We demonstrate that the WND protein is present in cells in two forms, the 160-kDa and the 140-kDa products. The 160-kDa product was earlier shown to be targeted to trans-Golgi network. The 140-kDa product identified herein is located in mitochondria as evidenced by the immunofluorescent staining of HepG2 cells with specific mitochondria markers and polyclonal antibody directed against the C terminus of the WND molecule. The mitochondrial location for the 140-kDa WND product was confirmed by membrane fractionation and by analysis of purified human mitochondria. The antibody raised against a repetitive sequence in the N-terminal portion of the WND molecule detects an additional 16-kDa protein, suggesting that the 140-kDa product was formed after proteolytic cleavage of the full-length WND protein at the N terminus. Thus, the WND protein is a P-type ATPase with an unusual subcellular localization. The mitochondria targeting of the WND protein suggests its important role for copper-dependent processes taking place in this organelle.

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