An expanding range of functions for the copper chaperone/antioxidant protein atox1

Yuta Hatori, Svetlana Lutsenko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Significance: Antioxidant protein 1 (Atox1 in human cells) is a copper chaperone for the copper export pathway with an essential role in cellular copper distribution. In vitro, Atox1 binds and transfers copper to the copper-transporting ATPases, stimulating their catalytic activity. Inactivation of Atox1 in cells inhibits maturation of secreted cuproenzymes as well as copper export from cells. Recent Advances: Accumulating data suggest that cellular functions of Atox1 are not limited to its copper-trafficking role and may include storage of labile copper, modulation of transcription, and antioxidant defense. The conserved metal binding site of Atox1, CxGC, differs from the metal-binding sites of copper-transporting ATPases and has a physiologically relevant redox potential that equilibrates with the GSH:GSSG pair. Critical Issues: Tight relationship appears to exist between intracellular copper levels and glutathione (GSH) homeostasis. The biochemical properties of Atox1 place it at the intersection of cellular networks that regulate copper distribution and cellular redox balance. Mechanisms through which Atox1 facilitates copper export and contributes to oxidative defense are not fully understood. Future Directions: The current picture of cellular redox homeostasis and copper physiology will be enhanced by further mechanistic studies of functional interactions between the GSH:GSSG pair and copper-trafficking machinery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-957
Number of pages13
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 20 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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