Copper–zinc cross-modulation in prion protein binding


In this paper we report a systematic XAS study of a set of samples in which Cu(II) was progressively added to complexes in which Zn(II) was bound to the tetra-octarepeat portion of the prion protein. This work extends previous EPR and XAS analysis in which, in contrast, the effect of adding Zn(II) to Cu(II)–tetra-octarepeat complexes was investigated. Detailed structural analysis of the XAS spectra taken at both the Cu and Zn K-edge when the two metals are present at different relative concentrations revealed that Zn(II) and Cu(II) ions compete for binding to the tetra-octarepeat peptide by cross-regulating their relative binding modes. We show that the specific metal–peptide coordination mode depends not only, as expected, on the relative metal concentrations, but also on whether Zn(II) or Cu(II) was first bound to the peptide. In particular, it seems that the Zn(II) binding mode in the absence of Cu(II) is able to …

European Biophysics Journal