October 2007

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems


Oregon Health & Science University


Selenocysteine-containing mutants of human copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase (hCCS) were constructed using intein-mediated peptide ligation. These mutants were studied with respect to their ability to transfer Cu to E,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) and their Cu-binding and X-ray absorption spectroscopic (XAS) properties. Previous studies have shown that three functionally distinct polypeptide domains are present in CCS: the N-terminal domain 1 (D1, residues 1-85) contains the copper-binding MXCXXC motif, domain 2 (D2, residues 86-234) has sequence homology to residues associated with the native SOD1 dimer interface, and the C-terminal domain 3 (D3, residues 235-274) contains a CXC motif. Recent results suggest the formation of a D3- D3 cluster within a dimeric or tetrameric protein and suggest that this cluster may be an important element of the copper transfer machinery. D3 cysteine-to-selenocysteine mutants of wild-type and D1 mutants of hCCS were constructed to investigate the D3 copper cluster in more detail. These mutants display similar activity to wild-type protein. The structure of the Cu centers of selenocysteine-containing mutants as shown by Cu EXAFS is similar to that of wild-type protein, with clear indications of a Cu cluster. Cu and Se EXAFS of these constructs reveal a unique adamantane-like cluster formed between two molecules of CCS at the D3-D3 interface. These results confirm the existence of a D3-D3 copper cluster in hCCS and suggest that a unique copper cluster may exist in this protein.




OGI School of Science and Engineering



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