The multicopper blue protein family, which contains cupredoxin-like domains as a structural unit, is one of the most diverse groups of proteins. This protein family is divided into two functionally different types of enzymes: multicopper oxidase and nitrite reductase. Multicopper oxidase catalyzes the oxidation of the substrate and then reduces dioxygen. The structures of many multicopper oxidases are already known, and until recently they were classified into two main groups: the three- and six-domain types. Both function as monomers and have three spectroscopically different copper sites: Types I (blue), II, and III (tri-nuclear). Nitrite reductase is a closely related protein that contains Types I and II (mono-nuclear) coppers but reduces nitrite instead of dioxygen. Nitrite reductase, which consists of two domains, forms a homotrimer. Multicopper oxidase and nitrite reductase share similar structural architectures and also contain Type I copper. Therefore, it is proposed that they have a common ancestor protein. Recently, some two-domain type multicopper oxidases have been found and their crystal structures have been determined. They have a trimeric quaternary structure and contain an active site at the molecular interface such as nitrite reductase. These results support previous hypotheses and provide an insight into the molecular evolution of multicopper blue proteins.
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