An X-ray structural study of human ceruloplasmin in relation to ferroxidase activity
The role of ceruloplasmin as a ferroxidase in the blood, mediating the release of iron from cells and its subsequent incorporation into serum transferrin, has long been the subject of speculation and debate. However, a recent X-ray crystal structure determination of human ceruloplasmin at a resolution of around 3.0 Å, in conjunction with studies associating mutations in the ceruloplasmin gene with systemic haemosiderosis in humans, has added considerable weight to the argument in favour of a ferroxidase role for this enzyme. Further X-ray studies have now been undertaken involving the binding of the cations Co(II), Fe(II), Fe(III), and Cu(II) to ceruloplasmin. These results give insights into a mechanism for ferroxidase activity in ceruloplasmin. The residues and sites involved in ferroxidation are similar to those proposed for the heavy chains of human ferritin. The nature of the ferroxidase activity of human ceruloplasmin is described in terms of its three-dimensional molecular structure.
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