DJ-1 is a copper chaperone acting on SOD1 activation [Protein Structure and Folding]

February 24th, 2014 by Girotto, S., Cendron, L., Bisaglia, M., Tessari, I., Mammi, S., Zanotti, G., Bubacco, L.

Lack of oxidative stress control is a common and often prime feature observed in many neurodegenerative diseases. Both DJ-1 and SOD1, proteins involved in familial Parkinson disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, respectively, play a protective role against oxidative stress. Impaired activity and modified expression of both proteins have been observed in different neurodegenerative diseases. A potential cooperative action of DJ-1 and SOD1 in the same oxidative stress response pathway may be suggested based on a copper-mediated interaction between the two proteins reported here. To investigate the mechanisms underlying the antioxidative function of DJ-1 in relation to SOD1 activity, we investigated DJ-1′s ability to bind copper ions. We structurally characterized a novel copper binding site involving Cys106 and we investigated, using different techniques, the kinetics of DJ-1 binding to copper ions. The copper transfer between the two proteins was also examined using both fluorescence spectroscopy and specific biochemical assays for SOD1 activity. The structural and functional analysis of the novel DJ-1 copper binding site led us to identify a putative role for DJ-1 as a copper chaperone. Alteration of the coordination geometry of the copper ion in DJ-1 may be correlated to the physiological role of the protein, to a potential failure in metal transfer to SOD1, and successive implications in neurodegenerative etiopathogenesis.