Molecular mechanisms of copper uptake and distribution.
In the past few years, exciting advances have been made toward understanding how copper is transported into and distributed to cupro-proteins within cells. Recent work has identified high-affinity copper transporters at the plasma membrane in a number of organisms. The elucidation of the three-dimensional structure of copper chaperones and target cupro-proteins has shown that highly specific interactions between homologous domains foster copper transfer between conserved copper ligands, and facilitate a detailed understanding of vectorial copper-transfer reactions. Furthermore, the recent generation of mouse-knockout models, deficient in a high-affinity copper transporter, or in copper chaperones, has demonstrated the importance of copper uptake and targeted distribution in both predicted and fascinating unanticipated ways in growth and development.
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