Heterodimer formation between superoxide dismutase and its copper chaperone

A. L. Lamb, A. S. Torres, T. V. O'Halloran, A. C. Rosenzweig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Copper, zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is activated in vivo by the copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase (CCS). The molecular mechanisms by which CCS recognizes and docks with SOD1 for metal ion insertion are not well understood. Two models for the oligomerization state during copper transfer have been proposed: a heterodimer comprising one monomer of CCS and one monomer of SOD1 and a dimer of dimers involving interactions between the two homodimers. We have investigated protein-protein complex formation between copper-loaded and apo yeast CCS (yCCS) and yeast SOD1 for both wild-type SOD1 (wtSOD1) and a mutant SOD1 in which copper ligand His 48 has been replaced with phenylalanine (H48F-SOD1). According to gel filtration chromatography, dynamic light scattering, analytical ultracentrifugation, and chemical cross-linking experiments, yCCS and this mutant SOD1 form a complex with the correct molecular mass for a heterodimer. No higher order oligomers were detected. Heterodimer formation is facilitated by the presence of zinc but does not depend on copper loading of yCCS. The complex formed with H48F-SOD1 is more stable than that formed with wtSOD1, suggesting that the latter is a more transient species. Notably, heterodimer formation between copper-loaded yCCS and wtSOD1 is accompanied by SOD1 activation only in the presence of zinc. These findings, taken together with structural, biochemical, and genetic studies, strongly suggest that in vivo copper loading of yeast SOD1 occurs via a heterodimeric intermediate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14720-14727
Number of pages8
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 5 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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