The many highways for intracellular trafficking of metals

Edward Luk, Laran T. Jensen, Valeria C. Culotta

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Metal ions such as copper and manganese represent a unique problem to living cells in that these ions are not only essential co-factors for metalloproteins, but are also potentially toxic. To aid in the homeostatic balance of essential but toxic metals, cells have evolved with a complex network of metal trafficking pathways. The object of such pathways is two-fold: to prevent accumulation of the metal in the freely reactive form (metal detoxification pathways) and to ensure proper delivery of the ion to target metalloproteins (metal utilization pathways). Much of what we currently know regarding these complex pathways of metal trafficking has emerged from molecular genetic studies in baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this review, we shall briefly highlight the current understanding of factors that function in the trafficking and handling of copper, including copper detoxification factors, copper transporters and copper chaperones. In addition, very recent findings on the players involved in manganese trafficking will be presented. The goal is to provide a paradigm for the intracellular handling of metals that may be applied in a more general sense to metals that serve essential functions in biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-809
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Chaperones
  • Copper
  • Manganese Superoxide dismutase
  • Yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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