Communication between the N and C termini is required for copper-stimulated Ser/Thr phosphorylation of Cu(I)-ATPase

Lelita T. Braiterman, Arnab Gupta, Raghothama Chaerkady, Robert N. Cole, Ann L. Hubbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The Wilson disease protein ATP7B exhibits copper-dependent trafficking. In high copper, ATP7B exits the trans-Golgi network and moves to the apical domain of hepatocytes where it facilitates elimination of excess copper through the bile. Copper levels also affect ATP7B phosphorylation. ATP7B is basally phosphorylated in low copper and becomes more phosphorylated ("hyperphosphorylated") in elevated copper. The functional significance of hyperphosphorylation remains unclear. We showed that hyperphosphorylation occurs even when ATP7B is restricted to the trans-Golgi network. We performed comprehensive phosphoproteomics of ATP 7B in low versus high copper, which revealed that 24 Ser/Thr residues in ATP7B could be phosphorylated, and only four of these were copper-responsive. Most of the phosphorylated sites were found in the N- and C-terminal cytoplasmic domains. Using truncation and mutagenesis, we showed that inactivation or elimination of all six N-terminal metal binding domains did not block copper-dependent, reversible, apical trafficking but did block hyperphosphorylation in hepatic cells. We showed that nine of 15 Ser/Thr residues in the C-terminal domain were phosphorylated. Inactivation of 13 C-terminal phosphorylation sites reduced basal phosphorylation and eliminated hyperphosphorylation, suggesting that copper binding at the N terminus propagates to the ATP7BC-terminal region. C-terminal mutants with either inactivating or phosphomimetic substitutions showed little effect upon copper-stimulated trafficking, indicating that trafficking does not depend on phosphorylation at these sites. Thus, our studies revealed that copper-dependent conformational changes in the N-terminal region lead to hyperphosphorylation at C-terminal sites, which seem not to affect trafficking and may instead fine-tune copper sequestration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8803-8819
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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