Regulation of copper homeostasis by members of the COMMD protein family

Amika Singla, Qing Chen, Kohei Suzuki, Jie Song, Alina Fedoseienko, Melinde Wijers, Adam Lopez, Daniel D Billadeau, Bart van de Sluis*, Ezra Burstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Copper is an essential transition metal for all eukaryotes. In mammals, intestinal copper absorption is mediated by the ATP7A copper transporter, whereas copper excretion occurs predominatly through the biliary route and is mediated by the paralog ATP7B. Both transporters have been shown to be actively recycled between the endosomal network and the plasma membrane by a molecular machinery known as the COMMD/CCDC22/CCDC93 or CCC complex. In fact, mutations in COMMD1 can lead to impaired biliary copper excretion and liver pathology in dogs and mice with liver-specific Commd1 deficiency recapitulating aspects of this phenotype as well. Nonetheless, the role of the CCC complex in intestinal copper absorption in vivo has not been studied, and the potential redundancy of various COMMD family members has not been tested. In this study, we examined copper homeostasis in enterocyte-specific and hepatocyte-specific Commd-deficient mice. We find that in contrast to effects in cell lines in culture, COMMD protein deficiency induces minimal changes in ATP7A in enterocytes and does not lead to altered copper levels under low or high copper diets, suggesting that regulation of ATP7A in enterocytes is not of physiologic consequence. In contrast, deficiency of any of 3 Commd genes (Commd1, 6, and 9) all result in hepatic copper accumulation under high copper diets. We find that each of these deficiencies cause destabilization of the entire CCC complex, and suggest that this might explain their shared phenotype. Overall, we conclude that the CCC complex plays an important role in ATP7B endosomal recycling and function.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalDisease models & mechanisms
Early online date1-Dec-2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2021

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