Although cells express hundreds of metalloenzymes, the mechanisms by which apoenzymes receive their metal cofactors are largely unknown. Poly(rC)-binding proteins PCBP1 and PCBP2 are multifunctional adaptor proteins that bind iron and deliver it to ferritin for storage or to prolyl and asparagyl hydroxylases to metallate the mononuclear iron center. Here, we show that PCBP1 and PCBP2 also deliver iron to deoxyhypusine hydroxylase (DOHH), the dinuclear iron enzyme required for hypusine modification of the translation factor eukaryotic initiation factor 5A. Cells depleted of PCBP1 or PCBP2 exhibited loss of DOHH activity and loss of the holo form of the enzyme in cells, particularly when cells were made mildly iron-deficient. Lysates containing PCBP1 and PCBP2 converted apo-DOHH to holo-DOHH in vitro with greater efficiency than lysates lacking PCBP1 or PCBP2. PCBP1 bound to DOHH in iron-treated cells but not in control or iron-deficient cells. Depletion of PCBP1 or PCBP2 had no effect on the cytosolic Fe-S cluster enzyme xanthine oxidase but led to loss of cytosolic aconitase activity. Loss of aconitase activity was not accompanied by gain of RNA-binding activity, a pattern suggesting the incomplete disassembly of the [4Fe-4S] cluster. PCBP depletions had minimal effects on total cellular iron, mitochondrial iron levels, and heme synthesis. Thus, PCBP1 and PCBP2 may serve as iron chaperones to multiple classes of cytosolic nonheme iron enzymes and may have a particular role in restoring metal cofactors that are spontaneously lost in iron deficient cells.
Acquisition and detoxification of metal ions are vital biological processes. Given the requirement of metallochaperones in cellular copper distribution and metallation of cuproproteins, this study investigates whether the metallochaperones also deliver metal ions for transporters functioning in metal detoxification.
Copper is a vital mineral for many organisms, yet it is highly toxic as demonstrated by serious health concerns associated with its deficiency or excess accumulation. The SLC31 (CTR) family of copper transporters is a major gateway of copper acquisition in eukaryotes, ranging from yeast to humans. Characterization of the function, modes of action, and regulation of CTR and other molecular factors that functionally cooperate with CTR for copper transport, compartmentalization, incorporation into cuproproteins, and detoxification has revealed that organisms have evolved fascinating mechanisms for tight control of copper metabolism. This research progress further indicates the significance of copper in health and disease and opens avenues for therapeutic control of copper bioavailability and its metabolic pathways.
Iron regulatory proteins (Irps) 1 and 2 posttranscriptionally control the expression of transcripts that contain iron-responsive element (IRE) sequences, including ferritin, ferroportin, transferrin receptor, and hypoxia-inducible factor 2? (HIF2?). We report here that mice with targeted deletion of Irp1 developed pulmonary hypertension and polycythemia that was exacerbated by a low-iron diet. Hematocrits increased to 65% in iron-starved mice, and many polycythemic mice died of abdominal hemorrhages. Irp1 deletion enhanced HIF2? protein expression in kidneys of Irp1(-/-) mice, which led to increased erythropoietin (EPO) expression, polycythemia, and concomitant tissue iron deficiency. Increased HIF2? expression in pulmonary endothelial cells induced high expression of endothelin-1, likely contributing to the pulmonary hypertension of Irp1(-/-) mice. Our results reveal why anemia is an early physiological consequence of iron deficiency, highlight the physiological significance of Irp1 in regulating erythropoiesis and iron distribution, and provide important insights into the molecular pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension.
In this report, we have addressed the role of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) deficiency in the mediation of central nervous system autoimmunity. We demonstrate that SOD1-deficient C57Bl/6 mice develop more severe autoimmune encephalomyelitis induced with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) 35-55, compared with wild type mice. This alteration in the disease phenotype was not due to aberrant expansion of MOG-specific T cells nor their ability to produce inflammatory cytokines; rather lymphocytes generated in SOD1-deficient mice were more prone to spontaneous cell death when compared with their wild type littermate controls. The data point to a role for SOD1 in the maintenance of self-tolerance leading to the suppression of autoimmune responses.
Glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive trait that compromises production of glutathione, a critical redox buffer and enzymatic cofactor. Patients have markedly reduced levels of erythrocyte glutathione, leading to hemolytic anemia and, in some cases, impaired neurological function. Human glutamate cysteine ligase is a heterodimer comprised of a catalytic subunit (GCLC) and a regulatory subunit (GCLM), which catalyzes the initial rate-limiting step in glutathione production. Four clinical missense mutations have been identified within GCLC: Arg127Cys, Pro158Leu, His370Leu, and Pro414Leu. Here, we have evaluated the impacts of these mutations on enzymatic function in vivo and in vitro to gain further insight into the pathology. Embryonic fibroblasts from GCLC null mice were transiently transfected with wild-type or mutant GCLC, and cellular glutathione levels were determined. The four mutant transfectants each had significantly lower levels of glutathione relative to that of the wild type, with the Pro414Leu mutant being most compromised. The contributions of the regulatory subunit to GCL activity were investigated using a Saccharomyces cerevisiae model system. Mutant GCLC alone could not complement a glutathione deficient strain and required the concurrent addition of GCLM to restore growth. Kinetic characterizations of the recombinant GCLC mutants indicated that the Arg127Cys, His370Leu, and Pro414Leu mutants have compromised enzymatic activity that can largely be rescued by the addition of GCLM. Interestingly, the Pro158Leu mutant has kinetic constants comparable to those of wild-type GCLC, suggesting that heterodimer formation is needed for stability in vivo. Strategies that promote heterodimer formation and persistence would be effective therapeutics for the treatment of GCL deficiency.
Genetic ablation of Iron Regulatory Protein 2 (Irp2, Ireb2), which post-transcriptionally regulates iron metabolism genes, causes a gait disorder in mice that progresses to hind-limb paralysis. Here we have demonstrated that misregulation of iron metabolism from loss of Irp2 causes lower motor neuronal degeneration with significant spinal cord axonopathy. Mitochondria in the lumbar spinal cord showed significantly decreased Complex I and II activities, and abnormal morphology. Lower motor neurons appeared to be the most adversely affected neurons, and we show that functional iron starvation due to misregulation of iron import and storage proteins, including transferrin receptor 1 and ferritin, may have a causal role in disease. We demonstrated that two therapeutic approaches were beneficial for motor neuron survival. First, we activated a homologous protein, IRP1, by oral Tempol treatment and found that axons were partially spared from degeneration. Secondly, we genetically decreased expression of the iron storage protein, ferritin, to diminish functional iron starvation. These data suggest that functional iron deficiency may constitute a previously unrecognized molecular basis for degeneration of motor neurons in mice.
Alzheimers disease (AD) is characterized by progressive neurodegeneration associated with the aggregation and deposition of ?-amyloid (A?(40) and A?(42) ) peptide in senile plaques. Recent studies suggest that copper may play an important role in AD pathology. Copper concentrations are elevated in amyloid plaques and copper binds with high affinity to the A? peptide and promotes A? oligomerization and neurotoxicity. Despite this connection between copper and AD, it is unknown whether the expression of proteins involved in regulating copper homeostasis is altered in this disorder. In this study, we demonstrate that the copper transporting P-type ATPase, ATP7A, is highly expressed in activated microglial cells that are specifically clustered around amyloid plaques in the TgCRND8 mouse model of AD. Using a cultured microglial cell line, ATP7A expression was found to be increased by the pro-inflammatory cytokine interferon-gamma, but not by TNF-? or IL-1?. Interferon-gamma also elicited marked changes in copper homeostasis, including copper-dependent trafficking of ATP7A from the Golgi to cytoplasmic vesicles, increased copper uptake and elevated expression of the CTR1 copper importer. These findings suggest that pro-inflammatory conditions associated with AD cause marked changes in microglial copper trafficking, which may underlie the changes in copper homeostasis in AD. It is concluded that copper sequestration by microglia may provide a neuroprotective mechanism in AD.
Copper is an essential micronutrient that is necessary for healthy immune function. This requirement is underscored by an increased susceptibility to bacterial infection in copper-deficient animals; however, a molecular understanding of its importance in immune defense is unknown. In this study, we investigated the effect of proinflammatory agents on copper homeostasis in RAW264.7 macrophages. Interferon-gamma was found to increase expression of the high affinity copper importer, CTR1, and stimulate copper uptake. This was accompanied by copper-stimulated trafficking of the ATP7A copper exporter from the Golgi to vesicles that partially overlapped with phagosomal compartments. Silencing of ATP7A expression attenuated bacterial killing, suggesting a role for ATP7A-dependent copper transport in the bactericidal activity of macrophages. Significantly, a copper-sensitive mutant of Escherichia coli lacking the CopA copper-transporting ATPase was hypersensitive to killing by RAW264.7 macrophages, and this phenotype was dependent on ATP7A expression. Collectively, these data suggest that copper-transporting ATPases, CopA and ATP7A, in both bacteria and macrophage are unique determinants of bacteria survival and identify an unexpected role for copper at the host-pathogen interface.
Cadmium is a highly toxic environmental contaminant that has been implicated in various disorders. A major mechanism for cadmium detoxification in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae relies on extrusion via Pca1, a P-type ATPase. While an N-terminal degron targets Pca1 for degradation before its secretion to the plasma membrane, cadmium in the growth media rapidly up-regulates Pca1 by preventing its turnover. Here we show that the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) system, known for its role in quality control of secretory proteins, is unexpectedly responsible for the regulation of Pca1 expression by cadmium. Direct cadmium sensing at the ER by a degron in Pca1 leads to an escape of Pca1 from ERAD. This regulated conversion of an ERAD substrate to a secretory competent state in response to a cellular need illustrates a mechanism for expressional control of a plasma membrane protein. Yeast has likely evolved this mode of regulation for a rapid response against cadmium toxicity at the expense of constant synthesis and degradation of Pca1. ERAD of a portion of secretory proteins might occur via signal-dependent regulatory mechanisms as demonstrated for Pca1.
Copper is an essential nutrient for a variety of biochemical processes; however, the redox properties of copper also make it potentially toxic in the free form. Consequently, the uptake and intracellular distribution of this metal is strictly regulated. This raises the issue of whether specific pathophysiological conditions can promote adaptive changes in intracellular copper distribution. In this study, we demonstrate that oxygen limitation promotes a series of striking alterations in copper homeostasis in RAW264.7 macrophage cells. Hypoxia was found to stimulate copper uptake and to increase the expression of the copper importer, CTR1. This resulted in increased copper delivery to the ATP7A copper transporter and copper-dependent trafficking of ATP7A to cytoplasmic vesicles. Significantly, the ATP7A protein was required to deliver copper into the secretory pathway to ceruloplasmin, a secreted copperdependent enzyme, the expression and activity of which were stimulated by hypoxia. However, the activities of the alternative targets of intracellular copper delivery, superoxide dismutase and cytochrome c oxidase, were markedly reduced in response to hypoxia. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that copper delivery into the biosynthetic secretory pathway is regulated by oxygen availability in macrophages by a selective increase in copper transport involving ATP7A.
Copper is an essential yet toxic trace element. The Ctr1 family of proteins plays a critical role for copper uptake in eukaryotes. However, the mechanisms of action of Ctr1 are largely unknown. Our previous data demonstrated that copper transport induces conformational changes in the cytosolic C terminus of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ctr1. To define the physiological significance of this molecular event and gain better insights into the mechanism of Ctr1-mediated copper uptake, we have characterized the functional roles of the Ctr1 C terminus. A Ctr1 mutant lacking the entire C-terminal cytosolic tail is functional in high affinity copper uptake; however, yeast cells expressing this mutant are extremely sensitive to excess copper. Toxic copper uptake is not attributed to elevated expression or distinct subcellular localization of this mutant as compared with wild type Ctr1. Further characterization of the function of Ctr1 containing deletions or site-directed mutations at the C terminus indicates a structural role for the C terminus in controlling Ctr1 activities. In response to excess copper, Ctr1-mediated copper transport is rapidly blocked in a C terminus-dependent mechanism associated with direct binding of copper. We propose that conformational changes in the cytosolic tail of yeast Ctr1 by copper sensing within this domain lead to the inhibition of Ctr1-mediated copper transport. These data suggest a new regulatory mechanism by which yeast cells maintain homeostatic copper acquisition.
Copper is a vital trace element required for normal growth and development of many organisms. To determine the roles for copper transporter 1 (Ctr1) in hepatic copper metabolism and the contribution of the liver to systemic copper homeostasis, we have generated and characterized mice in which Ctr1 is deleted specifically in the liver. These mice express less than 10% residual Ctr1 protein in the liver and exhibit a small but significant growth retardation, which disappears with age. Hepatic copper concentrations and the activities of copper-requiring enzymes are reduced; however, mild copper deficiency relative to Ctr1 protein deficit indicates compensatory mechanisms for copper metabolism. Copper concentrations of other organs did not alter despite the defect in hepatic copper uptake. Whereas biliary copper excretion is reduced, urinary copper concentration in these mice is higher than that of control mice. Our data indicate that Ctr1 plays a critical role in copper acquisition in the liver, and, when Ctr1 expression is compromised, compensatory mechanisms facilitate copper uptake and/or retention in the liver and excretion of copper via urine.
Body copper homeostasis is regulated by the liver, which removes excess copper via bile. In Wilsons disease (WD), this function is disrupted due to inactivation of the copper transporter ATP7B resulting in hepatic copper overload. High urinary copper is a diagnostic feature of WD linked to liver malfunction; the mechanism behind urinary copper elevation is not fully understood. Using Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) imaging of live Atp7b(-/-) mice at different stages of disease, a longitudinal metal analysis, and characterization of copper-binding molecules, we show that urinary copper elevation is a specific regulatory process mediated by distinct molecules. PET-CT and atomic absorption spectroscopy directly demonstrate an age-dependent decrease in the capacity of Atp7b(-/-) livers to accumulate copper, concomitant with an increase in urinary copper. This reciprocal relationship is specific for copper, indicating that cell necrosis is not the primary cause for the initial phase of metal elevation in the urine. Instead, the urinary copper increase is associated with the down-regulation of the copper-transporter Ctr1 in the liver and appearance of a 2 kDa Small Copper Carrier, SCC, in the urine. SCC is also elevated in the urine of the liver-specific Ctr1(-/-) knockouts, which have normal ATP7B function, suggesting that SCC is a normal metabolite carrying copper in the serum. In agreement with this hypothesis, partially purified SCC-Cu competes with free copper for uptake by Ctr1. Thus, hepatic down-regulation of Ctr1 allows switching to an SCC-mediated removal of copper via kidney when liver function is impaired. These results demonstrate that the body regulates copper export through more than one mechanism; better understanding of urinary copper excretion may contribute to an improved diagnosis and monitoring of WD.
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