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Molecular basis of copper transport: cellular and physiological functions of Menkes and Wilson disease proteins (ATP7A and ATPB)
chapterposted on 2003-01-01, 00:00 authored by David Kramer, Roxana LlanosRoxana Llanos, Julian MercerJulian Mercer
Eukaryotic cells prevent copper-induced, free radical damage to cell components by employing copper-binding proteins and transporters that minimize the likelihood of free copper ions existing in the cell. In the cell, copper is actively transported from the cytoplasm during the biosynthesis of secreted coppercontaining proteins and, as a protective measure, when there is an excess of copper. In humans, this is accomplished by two related copper-transporting ATPases (ATP7A and ATP7B), which are the affected genes in two distinct human genetic disorders of copper transport, Menkes disease (copper deficiency) and Wilson disease (copper toxicosis). The study of these ATPases has revealed their molecular mechanisms of copper transport and their roles in physiological copper homeostasis. Both ATP7A and ATP7B are expressed in specific brain regions and neurological abnormalities are important clinical features in Menkes and Wilson disease.