A Copper Cofactor for the Ethylene Receptor ETR1 from Arabidopsis

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Science  12 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5404, pp. 996-998
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5404.996

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The ETR1 receptor from Arabidopsis binds the gaseous hormone ethylene. A copper ion associated with the ethylene-binding domain is required for high-affinity ethylene-binding activity. A missense mutation in the domain that renders the plant insensitive to ethylene eliminates both ethylene binding and the interaction of copper with the receptor. A sequence from the genome of the cyanobacteriumSynechocystis sp. strain 6803 that shows homology to the ethylene-binding domain of ETR1 encodes a functional ethylene-binding protein. On the basis of sequence conservation between theArabidopsis and the cyanobacterial ethylene-binding domains and on in vitro mutagenesis of ETR1, a structural model for this copper-based ethylene sensor domain is presented.

  • * Present address: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 46 College Road, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: bleecker{at}

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