Copper Specifically Regulates Intracellular Phosphorylation of the Wilson's Disease Protein, a Human Copper-transporting ATPase

Scott M. Vanderwerf, Matthew J. Cooper, Inna V. Stetsenko, Svetlana Lutsenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Copper is a trace element essential for normal cell homeostasis. The major physiological role of copper is to serve as a cofactor to a number of key metabolic enzymes. In humans, genetic defects of copper distribution, such as Wilson's disease, lead to severe pathologies, including neurodegeneration, liver lesions, and behavior abnormalities. Here, we demonstrate that, in addition to its role as a cofactor, copper can regulate important post-translational events such as protein phosphorylation. Specifically, in human cells copper modulates phosphorylation of a key copper transporter, the Wilson's disease protein (WNDP). Copper-induced phosphorylation of WNDP is rapid, specific, and reversible and correlates with the intracellular location of this copper transporter. WNDP is found to have at least two phosphorylation sites, a basal phosphorylation site and a site modified in response to increased copper concentration. Comparative analysis of WNDP, the WNDP pineal isoform, and WNDP C-terminal truncation mutants revealed that the basal phosphorylation site is located in the C-terminal Ser796-Tyr 1384 region of WNDP. The copper-induced phosphorylation appears to require the presence of the functional N-terminal domain of this protein. The novel physiological role of copper as a modulator of protein phosphorylation could be central to understanding how copper transport is regulated in mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36289-36294
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume276
Issue number39
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 28 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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