Multiple protein domains contribute to the action of the copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase

Paul J. Schmidt, Tracey D. Rae, Robert A. Pufahl, Tomoko Hamma, Jeff Strain, Thomas V. O'Halloran, Valeria C. Culotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase (SOD1) inserts the catalytic metal cofactor into SOD1 by an unknown mechanism. We demonstrate here that this process involves the cooperation of three distinct regions of the copper chaperone for SOD1 (CCS): an amino-terminal Domain I homologous to the Atx1p metallochaperone, a central portion (Domain II) homologous to SOD1, and a short carboxyl-terminal peptide unique to CCS molecules (Domain III). These regions fold into distinct polypeptide domains as revealed through proteolysis protection studies. The biological roles of the yeast CCS domains were examined in yeast cells. Surprisingly, Domain I was found to be necessary only under conditions of strict copper limitation. Domain I and Atx1p were not interchangeable in vivo, underscoring the specificity of the corresponding metallochaperones. A putative copper site in Domain II was found to be irrelevant to yeast CCS activity, but SOD1 activation invariably required a CXC in Domain III that binds copper. Copper binding to purified yeast CCS induced allosteric conformational changes in Domain III and also enhanced homodimer formation of the polypeptide. Our results are consistent with a model whereby Domain I recruits cellular copper, Domain II facilitates target recognition, and Domain III, perhaps in concert with Domain I, mediates copper insertion into apo-SOD1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23719-23725
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 20 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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