Crystal structure and electron transfer kinetics of CueO, a multicopper oxidase required for copper homeostasis in Escherichia coli

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Mar 5;99(5):2766-71. doi: 10.1073/pnas.052710499. Epub 2002 Feb 26.


CueO (YacK), a multicopper oxidase, is part of the copper-regulatory cue operon in Escherichia coli. The crystal structure of CueO has been determined to 1.4-A resolution by using multiple anomalous dispersion phasing and an automated building procedure that yielded a nearly complete model without manual intervention. This is the highest resolution multicopper oxidase structure yet determined and provides a particularly clear view of the four coppers at the catalytic center. The overall structure is similar to those of laccase and ascorbate oxidase, but contains an extra 42-residue insert in domain 3 that includes 14 methionines, nine of which lie in a helix that covers the entrance to the type I (T1, blue) copper site. The trinuclear copper cluster has a conformation not previously seen: the Cu-O-Cu binuclear species is nearly linear (Cu-O-Cu bond angle = 170 degrees) and the third (type II) copper lies only 3.1 A from the bridging oxygen. CueO activity was maximal at pH 6.5 and in the presence of >100 microM Cu(II). Measurements of intermolecular and intramolecular electron transfer with laser flash photolysis in the absence of Cu(II) show that, in addition to the normal reduction of the T1 copper, which occurs with a slow rate (k = 4 x 10(7) M(-1)x (-1)), a second electron transfer process occurs to an unknown site, possibly the trinuclear cluster, with k = 9 x 10(7) M(-1) x (-1), followed by a slow intramolecular electron transfer to T1 copper (k approximately 10 s(-1)). These results suggest the methionine-rich helix blocks access to the T1 site in the absence of excess copper.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Copper / metabolism*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Electron Transport
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Homeostasis
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Oxidoreductases / chemistry*
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Copper
  • Oxidoreductases
  • cueO protein, E coli

Associated data

  • PDB/1KV7