The Wilson protein (WND; ATP7B) is an essential component of copper homeostasis. Mutations in the ATP7B gene result in Wilson disease, which is characterised by hepatotoxicity and neurological disturbances. In this paper, we provide the first direct biochemical evidence that the WND protein functions as a copper-translocating P-type ATPase in mammalian cells. Importantly, we have shown that the mutation of the conserved Met1386 to Val, in the Atp7B for the mouse model of Wilson disease, toxic milk (tx), caused a loss of Cu-translocating activity. These investigations provide strong evidence that the toxic milk mouse is a valid model for Wilson disease and demonstrate a link between the loss of catalytic function of WND and the Wilson disease phenotype.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.