The acquisition of pro-oxidant activity of the mutated form of human Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) has been investigated to clarify the relationship between mutations in SOD1 and the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Ala4 → Val (A4V) and Gly93 → Ala (G93A) mutants, which are representative ALS-linked SOD1 mutants, have been found to exhibit both the denaturation and the gain of pro-oxidant activity after incubation in the apo-form at a physiological condition of 37 °C and pH 7.4 and the rebinding of Cu2+. These characteristics are similar to those previously reported for the His43 → Arg (H43R) mutant. UV-resonance Raman spectra indicated that the coordination structure of the Cu-binding site catalyzing the oxidation reaction is the same among the denatured A4V, G93A, and H43R. Since wild-type SOD1 does not exhibit the denaturation in its apo-form at 37 °C and pH 7.4, the instability of the protein structure due to mutation can be considered as a significant factor that induces the denaturation and the subsequent pro-oxidant activity.
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