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Primary Structure and Spectroscopic Studies of Neurospora Copper Metallothionein
Mariano Beltramini and Konrad Lerch
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 65 (Mar., 1986), pp. 21-27
Published by: The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3430157
Page Count: 7
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When Neurospora crassa is grown in the presence of Cu(II) ions, it accumulates the metal with the concomitant synthesis of a low molecular weight copper-binding protein. The molecule binds 6 g-atom of copper per mole protein (M r=2200) and shows a striking sequence homology to the zinc- and cadmium-binding vertebrate metallothioneins. Absorption, circular dichroism, and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy of Neurospora metallothionein indicate the copper to be bound to cysteinyl residues as a Cu(I)-thiolate complex of the polymeric μ-thiolate structure [ Cu( I)6 RS7]-. This metal-binding mode is also in agreement with the unusual luminescence of the protein. Spectral perturbation studies with HgCl2 and p-(chloromercuri)benzoate suggest that the 6 Cu(I) ions are coordinated to the seven cysteinyl residues in the form of a single metal cluster. Neurospora apometallothionein is also capable of binding in vivo group IIB metal ions [Zn(II), Cd(II), and Hg(II)] as well as paramagnetic Co(II) ions with an overall metal-to-protein stoichiometry of 3. The spectroscopic properties of the fully substituted forms are indicative of a distorted tetrahedral coordination. However, metal titration of the apoprotein shows the third metal ion to be differently coordinated than the other two metal ions. This difference can be explained by the presence of only seven cysteine residues in Neurospora metallothionein as opposed to nine cysteine residues in the three-metal cluster of the mammalian metallothioneins.
Environmental Health Perspectives © 1986 The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences