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Figure. Overall architecture of the structurally determined Cu+-ion pump (CopA) fuelled by ATP. This type of protein facilitates the transport of copper (silver or gold) ions from the interior of cells (the cytoplasm) across biological membranes (the direction is indicated with arrows). The approximate positions of the membrane (horizontal lines) are also pinpointed. Functionally important and distinct parts of the protein are shown in different colours (the A domain in yellow, N in red, P in blue and the transmembrane domain in cyan and wheat). The dotted cyan sphere indicates the putative position of a so-called heavy-metal binding domain. Click figure for larger version. Figure: Pontus Gourdon

2011.07.01 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Protein pumps copper, silver and gold

Researchers from Aarhus University are the first in the world to map the structure of a protein that pumps copper ions across the cell membrane. Almost all organisms are dependent on this protein to control the cell levels of copper, which is essential in small quantities but deadly toxic at elevated concentrations. The findings have been…