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Biomolecules 2014, 4(2), 419-434; doi:10.3390/biom4020419
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Zinc-Binding Cysteines: Diverse Functions and Structural Motifs

 and
*
Department of Chemistry, Boston College, 2609 Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 February 2014 / Revised: 19 March 2014 / Accepted: 20 March 2014 / Published: 17 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Binding Proteins)
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Abstract

Cysteine residues are known to perform essential functions within proteins, including binding to various metal ions. In particular, cysteine residues can display high affinity toward zinc ions (Zn2+), and these resulting Zn2+-cysteine complexes are critical mediators of protein structure, catalysis and regulation. Recent advances in both experimental and theoretical platforms have accelerated the identification and functional characterization of Zn2+-bound cysteines. Zn2+-cysteine complexes have been observed across diverse protein classes and are known to facilitate a variety of cellular processes. Here, we highlight the structural characteristics and diverse functional roles of Zn2+-cysteine complexes in proteins and describe structural, computational and chemical proteomic technologies that have enabled the global discovery of novel Zn2+-binding cysteines.
Keywords: zinc; cysteine; zinc-cysteine complexes; zinc fingers; zinc inhibition; regulatory zinc zinc; cysteine; zinc-cysteine complexes; zinc fingers; zinc inhibition; regulatory zinc
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Pace, N.J.; Weerapana, E. Zinc-Binding Cysteines: Diverse Functions and Structural Motifs. Biomolecules 2014, 4, 419-434.

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