Mammalian copper homeostasis requires retromer-dependent recycling of the high-affinity copper transporter

Rachel Curnock*, Peter J Cullen *

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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The concentration of essential micronutrients, such as copper, within the cell is tightly regulated to avoid their adverse deficiency and toxicity effects. Retromer-mediated sorting and recycling of nutrient transporters within the endo-lysosomal network is an essential process in regulating nutrient balance. Cellular copper homeostasis is regulated primarily by two transporters: the copper influx transporter copper transporter 1 (CTR1/SLC31A1), which controls the uptake of copper, and the copper extruding ATPase, ATP7A, a recognised retromer cargo. Here, we show that in response to fluctuating extracellular copper retromer controls the delivery of CTR1 to the cell surface. Following copper exposure, CTR1 is endocytosed to prevent excessive copper uptake. We reveal that internalised CTR1 localises on retromer-positive endosomes and in response to decreased extracellular copper retromer controls the recycling of CTR1 back to the cell surface to maintain copper homeostasis. In addition to copper, CTR1 plays a central role in the trafficking of platinum. The efficacy of platinum-based cancer drugs has been correlated with CTR1 expression. Consistent with this, we demonstrate that retromer-deficient cells show reduced sensitivity to the platinum-based drug, cisplatin.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Early online date25 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Aug 2020


  • CTR1
  • endosomal recycling
  • metal ion homeostasis
  • retromer


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