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Annu Rev Nutr. 2000;20:291-310.

Cellular copper transport and metabolism.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Faculty of Nutrition, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2128, USA.


The transport and cellular metabolism of Cu depends on a series of membrane proteins and smaller soluble peptides that comprise a functionally integrated system for maintaining cellular Cu homeostasis. Inward transport across the plasma membrane appears to be a function of integral membrane proteins that form the channels that select Cu ions for passage. Two membrane-bound Cu-transporting ATPase enzymes, ATP7A and ATP7B, the products of the Menkes and Wilson disease genes, respectively, catalyze an ATP-dependent transfer of Cu to intracellular compartments or expel Cu from the cell. ATP7A and ATP7B work in concert with a series of smaller peptides, the copper chaperones, that exchange Cu at the ATPase sites or incorporate the Cu directly into the structure of Cu-dependent enzymes such as cytochrome c oxidase and Cu, Zn superoxide dismutase. These mechanisms come into play in response to a high influx of Cu or during the course of normal Cu metabolism.

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