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The delivery of copper for thylakoid import observed by NMR

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nigel Robinson, Dr Stephen Tottey


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The thylakoid compartments of plant chloroplasts are a vital destination for copper. Copper is needed to form holo-plastocyanin, which must shuttle electrons between photosystems to convert light into biologically useful chemical energy. Copper can bind tightly to proteins, so it has been hypothesized that copper partitions onto ligand-exchange pathways to reach intracellular locations without inflicting damage en route. The copper metallochaperone Atx1 of chloroplast-related cyanobacteria (ScAtx1) engages in bacterial two-hybrid interactions with N-terminal domains of copper-transporting ATPases CtaA (cell import) and PacS (thylakoid import). Here we visualize copper delivery. The N-terminal domain PacSN has a ferredoxin-like fold that forms copper-dependent heterodimers with ScAtx1. Removal of copper, by the addition of the cuprous-ion chelator bathocuproine disulfonate, disrupts this heterodimer, as shown from a reduction of the overall tumbling rate of the protein mixture. The NMR spectral changes of the heterodimer versus the separate proteins reveal that loops 1, 3, and 5 (the carboxyl tail) of the ScAtx1 Cu(I) site switch to an apo-like configuration in the heterodimer. NMR data ( 2JNH couplings in the imidazole ring of 15N ScAtx1 His-61) also show that His-61, bound to copper(I) in [Cu(I)ScAtX1] 2, is not coordinated to copper in the heterodimer. A model for the PacSN/Cu(I)/ScAtx1 complex is presented. Contact with PacS N induces change to the ScAtx1 copper-coordination sphere that drives copper release for thylakoid import. These data also elaborate on the mechanism to keep copper(I) out of the ZiaAN ATPase zinc sites. © 2006 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Banci L, Bertini I, Ciofi-Baffoni S, Kandias NG, Robinson NJ, Spyroulias GA, Su X-C, Tottey S, Vanarotti M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Year: 2006

Volume: 103

Issue: 22

Pages: 8320-8325

ISSN (print): 0027-8424

ISSN (electronic): 1091-6490

Publisher: National Academy of Sciences


DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0600142103

PubMed id: 16707580


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Funder referenceFunder name
BBS/B/02576Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council