Circulatory zinc transport occurs at distinct interdomain sites on mammalian albumins

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Locations of zinc-binding sites on equine serum albumin.

Zinc is an essential nutrient in the body that is required for virtually all biological processes, therefore its homeostasis and trafficking is of fundamental interest. Serum albumin is the major carrier of Zn2+ in the blood and is required for its systemic distribution. In collaboration with Prof. Wladek Minor (University of Virginia), Dr Maksymilian Chruszcz (University of South Carolina) and Dr Claudia Blindauer (University of Warwick), the Stewart lab present the first crystal structures of human serum albumin (HSA) and equine serum albumin (ESA) in complex with Zn2+. The structures allow unambiguous identification of the major zinc binding site on these two albumins, as well as several further, weaker zinc binding sites. Furthermore, analysis of Zn2+ binding to HSA and ESA proved the presence of secondary sites with 20-50-fold weaker affinities, which may be important under certain physiological conditions. Collectively, these findings are critical to our understanding of the role serum albumin plays in circulatory Zn2+ handling and cellular delivery. The new findings are published in the open-access journal, Chemical Science. Full text of the article is available here.

Visit to Fight for Sight HQ

Dr Alan Stewart visited Fight for Sight yesterday, together with Dr Imre Lengyel (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology) to update the charity on the recent progress made on their Fight for Sight project grant.

They were excited to meet the FFS team who extended a warm welcome and gave insight into the great work that the charity does. In addition to fundraising and funding new research, the charity is committed to raising awareness of issues surrounding visual impairment and informing on new developments in the field. Drs Stewart and Lengyel are especially grateful to Dolores Conroy, Fight for Sight’s Director of Research, for the invitation to attend.