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Study proves Healthy Prion binds Copper - Dr. David Brown UK

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Feb 11, 2005
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Home on the Range, Alberta
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“High Affinity Binding between Copper and Full Length Prion Protein Identified by Two Different Techniques”.

Link: http://www.jbc.org/cgi/reprint/M506521200v1.pdf

Authors: Thompsett AR, Abdelraheim SR, Daniels M, Brown DR.

J Biol Chem. 2005 Oct 28
Biology and Biochemsitry, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY.

The cellular prion protein is known to be a copper binding protein. Despite the wide range of studies on the copper binding of PrP, there have been no studies to determine the affinity of the protein on both full length prion protein and under physiological conditions. We have used two techniques, isothermal titration calorimetry and competitive metal capture analysis to determine the affinity of copper for wild-type mouse PrP and a series of mutants. High affinity copper binding by wild type PrP has been confirmed by the independent techniques indicating the presence of specific tight copper binding sites up to femtomolar affinity. Altogether four high affinity binding sites of between femto and nanomolar affinities are located within the octameric repeat region of the protein at physiological pH. A fifth copper binding site of lower affinity than those of the octameric repeat region has been detected in full-length protein. Binding to this site is modulated by the histidine at residue 111. Removal of the octameric repeats leads to the enhancement of affinity of this fifth site and a second binding site outside of the repeat region undetected in the wild type protein. High affinity copper binding allows PrP to compete effectively for copper in the extracellular milieu. The copper binding affinities of PrP have been compared to those of proteins of known function and are of magnitudes compatible with an extracellular copper buffer or an enzymatic function such as superoxide dismutase like activity.

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