A novel protein-mineral interface

Dmitriy Alexeev, Haizhong Zhu, Maolin Guo, Weiqing Zhong, Dominic J B Hunter, Weiping Yang, Dominic J Campopiano, Peter J Sadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Transferrins transport Fe3+ and other metal ions in mononuclear-binding sites. We present the first evidence that a member of the transferrin superfamily is able to recognize multi-nuclear oxo-metal clusters, small mineral fragments that are the most abundant forms of many metals in the environment. We show that the ferric ion-binding protein from Neisseria gonorrhoeae (nFbp) readily binds clusters of Fe3+, Ti4+, Zr4+ or Hf4+ in solution. The 1.7 A resolution crystal structure of Hf-nFbp reveals three distinct types of clusters in an open, positively charged cleft between two hinged protein domains. A di-tyrosyl cluster nucleation motif (Tyr195-Tyr196) is situated at the bottom of this cleft and binds either a trinuclear oxo-Hf cluster, which is capped by phosphate, or a pentanuclear cluster, which in turn can be capped with phosphate. This first high-resolution structure of a protein-mineral interface suggests a novel metal-uptake mechanism and provides a model for protein-mediated mineralization/dissimilation, which plays a critical role in geochemical processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalNature Structural & Molecular Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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