Structure to function relationships in ceruloplasmin: A 'moonlighting' protein

P. Bielli, L. Calabrese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Specialised copper sites have been recruited during evolution to provide long-range electron transfer reactivity and oxygen binding and activation in proteins destined to cope with oxygen reactivity in different organisms. Ceruloplasmin is an ancient multicopper oxidase evolved to insure a safe handling of oxygen in some metabolic pathways of vertebrates. The presently available knowledge of its structure provides a glimpse of its plasticity, revealing a multitude of binding sites that point to an elaborate mechanism of multifunctional activity. Ceruloplasmin represents an example of a 'moonlighting' protein that overcomes the one gene-one structureone function concept to follow the changes of the organism in its physiological and pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1413-1427
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002


  • Ceruloplasmin
  • Copper metabolism
  • Electron transfer
  • Iron metabolism
  • Moonlighting protein
  • Multicopper oxidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Cell Biology


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