Structure, Properties, and Engineering of the Major Zinc Binding Site on Human Albumin

Claudia A. Blindauer, Ian Harvey, Kerry E. Bunyan, Alan J. Stewart, Darrell Sleep, David J. Harrison, Stephen Berezenko, Peter J. Sadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Most blood plasma zinc is bound to albumin, but the structure of the binding site has not been determined. Zn K-edge extended x-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy and modeling studies show that the major Zn2+ site on albumin is a 5-coordinate site with average Zn-O/N distances of 1.98 angstrom and a weak sixth O/N bond of 2.48 angstrom, consistent with coordination to His(67) and Asn(99) from domain I, His(247) and Asp(249) from domain II (residues conserved in all sequenced mammalian albumins), plus a water ligand. The dynamics of the domain I/II interface, thought to be important to biological function, are affected by Zn2+ binding, which induces cooperative allosteric effects related to those of the pH-dependent neutral-to-base transition. N99D and N99H mutations enhance Zn2+ binding but alter protein stability, whereas mutation of His67 to alanine removes an interdomain H-bond and weakens Zn2+ binding. Both wildtype and mutant albumins promote the safe management of high micromolar zinc concentrations for cells in cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23116-23124
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2009


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