Peptide models of Cu(I) and Zn(II) metallochaperones: The effect of pH on coordination and mechanistic implications

Michal S. Shoshan, Deborah E. Shalev, Edit Y. Tshuva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The first NMR structures of Cu(I) and Zn(II) peptide complexes as models of metallochaperones were derived with no predetermined binding mode. The cyclic peptide MDCSGCSRPG was reacted with Cu(I) and Zn(II) at low and moderate pH. This peptide features the conserved sequence of copper chaperones but with Asp at position 2 as appears in the zinc binding domain of ZntA. The structures were compared with those of the Cu(I) complexes of the wild-type sequence peptide MTCSGCSRPG. All analyses were conducted first with no metal-binding constraints to ensure accurate binding ligand assignment. Several structures included metal-Met binding, raising a possible role of Met in the metal transport mechanism. Both Cu(I) and Zn(II) gave different complexes when reacted with the peptide of the native-like sequence under different pH conditions, raising the possibility of pH-dependent transport mechanisms. Cu(I) bound the MTCSGCSRPG peptide through one Cys and the Met under acidic conditions and differently under basic conditions; Zn(II) bound the MDCSGCSRPG peptide through two Cys and the Met residues under acidic conditions and through one Cys and the Met under basic conditions, while Cu(I) bound the non-native Asp mutant peptide through the Asp and one Cys under both conditions, suggesting that Asp may inhibit pH-dependent binding for Cu(I). NOESY and ESI-HRMS supported the presence of an aqua ligand for Zn(II), which likely deprotonated under basic conditions to give a hydroxo group. Coordination similarities were detected among the model system and native proteins, which overall suggest that coordination flexibility is required for the function of metallochaperones.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2993-3000
Number of pages8
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 18 Mar 2013


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