Study: Amino acid helps in copper binding

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

Stamp-sized graphene sheets riddled with holes could be boon for molecular separation

Citation: Study: Amino acid helps in copper binding (2007, December 24) retrieved 24 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2007-12-amino-acid-copper.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more