Roles of copper ligands in the activation and secretion of Streptomyces tyrosinase

Tzung Yuan Tsai, Yan-Hwa Wu Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The expression of the melanin operon (melC) of Streptomyces antibioticus requires the chaperone-like protein MelC1 for the incorporation of two copper ions (designated as CuαA and Cu(B)) and the secretion of the apotyrosinase (MelC2) via a transient binary complex formation between these two proteins. To investigate whether the copper ligand of tyrosinase is involved in this MelC1-MelC2 binary complex function, six single substitution mutations were introduced into the Cu(A) and Cu(B) sites. These mutations led to differential effects on the stability, copper content, and export function of binary complexes but a complete abolishment of tyrosinase activity. The defects in the tyrosinase activity in mutants were not because of the impairment of the formation of MelC1-MelC2 complex but rather the failure of MelC2 to be discharged from the copper-activated binary complex. Moreover, the impairments on the discharge of the mutant MelC2 from all the mutant binary complexes appeared to result from the structural changes in their apoforms or copper-activated forms of the complexes, as evidenced by the fluorescence emission and circular dichroism spectral analysis. Therefore, each of six copper ligands in Streptomyces tyrosinase binuclear copper sites plays a pivotal role in the final maturation and the discharge of tyrosinase from the binary complex but has a less significant role in its secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19243-19250
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number30
StatePublished - 24 Jul 1998


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