Author(s): Tapiero H, Townsend DM, Tew KD
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Abstract Copper is a trace element, important for the function of many cellular enzymes. Copper ions can adopt distinct redox states oxidized Cu(II) or reduced (I), allowing the metal to play a pivotal role in cell physiology as a catalytic cofactor in the redox chemistry of enzymes, mitochondrial respiration, iron absorption, free radical scavenging and elastin cross-linking. If present in excess, free copper ions can cause damage to cellular components and a delicate balance between the uptake and efflux of copper ions determines the amount of cellular copper. In biological systems, copper homeostasis has been characterized at the molecular level. It is coordinated by several proteins such as glutathione, metallothionein, Cu-transporting P-type ATPases, Menkes and Wilson proteins and by cytoplasmic transport proteins called copper chaperones to ensure that it is delivered to specific subcellular compartments and thereby to copper-requiring proteins.
This article was published in Biomed Pharmacother
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research