Mutations in copper-zinc superoxide dismutase that cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis alter the zinc binding site and the redox behavior of the protein
A series of mutant human and yeast copper-zinc superoxide dismutases has been prepared, with mutations corresponding to those found in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). These proteins have been characterized with respect to their metal-binding characteristics and their redox reactivities. Replacement of Zn2+ ion in the zinc sites of several of these proteins with either Cu2+ or Co2+ gave metal-substituted derivatives with spectroscopic properties different from those of the analogous derivative of the wild-type proteins, indicating that the geometries of binding of these metal ions to the zinc site were affected by the mutations. Several of the ALS-associated mutant copper-zinc superoxide dismutases were also found to be reduced by ascorbate at significantly greater rate than the wild-type proteins. We conclude that similar alterations in the properties of the zinc binding site can be caused by mutations scattered throughout the protein structure. This finding may help to explain what is perhaps the most perplexing question in copper-zinc superoxide dismutase-associated familial ALS-i.e., how such a diverse set of mutations can result in the same gain of function that causes the disease.
Lyons TJ, Liu H, Goto JJ, et al. Mutations in copper-zinc superoxide dismutase that cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis alter the zinc binding site and the redox behavior of the protein. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1996;93(22):12240-12244.