Study: Amino acid helps in copper binding

Dec 24, 2007

An amino acid has a huge role in the binding of copper, an essential metal for life, a study by U.S. university researchers showed.

Because copper is dangerous on its own and could damage cells, it must be "chaperoned," which is where the amino acid tryptophan comes in, said scientists from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in the online version of Nature Chemical Biology.

Thomas O'Halloran and his team examined a copper-trafficking protein called CusF, finding that a tryptophan from the protein and its interaction with copper is critical for copper binding.

Tryptophan residues have been known to interact with positively charged ions, such as sodium or potassium, the researchers said. Their results revealed that proteins can use these to delicately help transport copper around cells.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers study vital 'on/off switches' that control when bacteria turn deadly

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A Closer Look: Your (online) life after death

52 minutes ago

Sure, you have a lot to do today—laundry, bills, dinner—but it's never too early to start planning for your digital afterlife, the fate of your numerous online accounts once you shed this mortal coil.

Web filter lifts block on gay sites

1 hour ago

A popular online safe-search filter is ending its practice of blocking links to mainstream gay and lesbian advocacy groups for users hoping to avoid obscene sites.

Jindal: Obama hasn't done enough to harness energy

1 hour ago

The governor of the state of Louisiana, a possible Republican presidential candidate, said Tuesday that President Barack Obama's administration has become "science deniers," failing to do enough to harness the nation's energy ...

Research drones launched into Hurricane Edouard

1 hour ago

U.S. government scientists are launching winged drones into Hurricane Edouard, hoping to collect data that could help forecasters understand what makes some storms strengthen into monsters while others fade away.

Recommended for you

Asian stars enlisted to fight African rhino poaching

51 minutes ago

Increasingly desperate South African conversationists are turning to a multi-national team of "rhino ambassadors" to try to end the scourge of poaching—and Vietnamese pop diva Hong Nhung has been recruited ...

For legume plants, a new route from shoot to root

51 minutes ago

A new study shows that legume plants regulate their symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria by using cytokinins—signaling molecules— that are transmitted through the plant structure from leaves into the roots to control ...

A new quality control pathway in the cell

14 hours ago

Proteins are important building blocks in our cells and each cell contains millions of different protein molecules. They are involved in everything from structural to regulatory aspects in the cell. Proteins are constructed ...

User comments : 0