Copper-transporting ATPases ATP7A and ATP7B: Cousins, not twins

Rachel Linz, Svetlana Lutsenko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Copper plays an essential role in human physiology and is indispensable for normal growth and development. Enzymes that are involved in connective tissue formation, neurotransmitter biosynthesis, iron transport, and others essential physiological processes require copper as a cofactor to mediate their reactions. The biosynthetic incorporation of copper into these enzymes takes places within the secretory pathway and is critically dependent on the activity of copper-transporting ATPases ATP7A or ATP7B. In addition, ATP7A and ATP7B regulate intracellular copper concentration by removing excess copper from the cell. These two transporters belong to the family of P1-type ATPases, share significant sequence similarity, utilize the same general mechanism for their function, and show partial colocalization in some cells. However, the distinct biochemical characteristics and dissimilar trafficking properties of ATP7A and ATP7B in cells, in which they are co-expressed, indicate that specific functions of these two copper-transporting ATPases are not identical. Immuno-detection studies in cells and tissues have begun to suggest specific roles for ATP7A and ATP7B. These experiments also revealed technical challenges associated with quantitative detection of copper-transporting ATPases in tissues, as illustrated here by comparing the results of ATP7A and ATP7B immunodetection in mouse cerebellum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-407
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • ATP7A
  • ATP7B
  • Copper
  • Menkes disease
  • Trafficking
  • Transport
  • Wilson disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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