Neuronal differentiation is associated with a redox-regulated increase of copper flow to the secretory pathway

Yuta Hatori, Ye Yan, Katharina Schmidt, Eri Furukawa, Nesrin M. Hasan, Nan Yang, Chin Nung Liu, Shanthini Sockanathan, Svetlana Lutsenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain development requires a fine-tuned copper homoeostasis. Copper deficiency or excess results in severe neuro-pathologies. We demonstrate that upon neuronal differentiation, cellular demand for copper increases, especially within the secretory pathway. Copper flow to this compartment is facilitated through transcriptional and metabolic regulation. Quantitative real-time imaging revealed a gradual change in the oxidation state of cytosolic glutathione upon neuronal differentiation. Transition from a broad range of redox states to a uniformly reducing cytosol facilitates reduction of the copper chaperone Atox1, liberating its metal-binding site. Concomitantly, expression of Atox1 and its partner, a copper transporter ATP7A, is upregulated. These events produce a higher flux of copper through the secretory pathway that balances copper in the cytosol and increases supply of the cofactor to copper-dependent enzymes, expression of which is elevated in differentiated neurons. Direct link between glutathione oxidation and copper compartmentalization allows for rapid metabolic adjustments essential for normal neuronal function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10640
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Feb 16 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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