SLC31 (CTR) family of copper transporters in health and disease

Mol Aspects Med. 2013 Apr-Jun;34(2-3):561-70. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2012.07.011.


Copper is a vital mineral for many organisms, yet it is highly toxic as demonstrated by serious health concerns associated with its deficiency or excess accumulation. The SLC31 (CTR) family of copper transporters is a major gateway of copper acquisition in eukaryotes, ranging from yeast to humans. Characterization of the function, modes of action, and regulation of CTR and other molecular factors that functionally cooperate with CTR for copper transport, compartmentalization, incorporation into cuproproteins, and detoxification has revealed that organisms have evolved fascinating mechanisms for tight control of copper metabolism. This research progress further indicates the significance of copper in health and disease and opens avenues for therapeutic control of copper bioavailability and its metabolic pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Cation Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Cation Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Copper / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Multigene Family / genetics*
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Protein Conformation*


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Copper