BioMetals (v.21, #3)

An investigation of hemopexin redox properties by spectroelectrochemistry: biological relevance for heme uptake by Meghan M. Flaherty; Kimberley R. Rish; Ann Smith; Alvin L. Crumbliss (239-248).
Hemopexin (HPX) has two principal roles: it sequesters free heme in vivo for the purpose of preventing the toxic effects of this moiety, which is largely due to heme’s ability to catalyze free radical formation, and it transports heme intracellularly thus limiting its availability as an iron source for pathogens. Spectroelectrochemistry was used to determine the redox potential for heme and meso-heme (mH) when bound by HPX. At pH 7.2, the heme-HPX assembly exhibits E 1/2 values in the range 45–90 mV and the mH-HPX assembly in the range 5–55 mV, depending on environmental electrolyte identity. The E 1/2 value exhibits a 100 mV positive shift with a change in pH from 7.2 to 5.5 for mH-HPX, suggesting a single proton dependent equilibrium. The E 1/2 values for heme-HPX are more positive in the presence of NaCl than KCl indicating that Na+, as well as low pH (5.5) stabilizes ferro-heme-HPX. Furthermore, comparing KCl with K2HPO4, the chloride salt containing system has a lower potential, indicating that heme-HPX is easier to oxidize. These physical properties related to ferri-/ferro-heme reduction are both structurally and biologically relevant for heme release from HPX for transport and regulation of heme oxygenase expression. Consistent with this, when the acidification of endosomes is prevented by bafilomycin then heme oxygenase-1 induction by heme-HPX no longer occurs.
Keywords: Heme; Meso-heme; Hemopexin; Iron; Hemophore; Heme transport; Redox; Endocytosis

A role for Haemophilus ducreyi Cu,ZnSOD in resistance to heme toxicity by Shahin Negari; Jeff Sulpher; Francesca Pacello; Keely Ingrey; Andrea Battistoni; B. Craig Lee (249-258).
The Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (Cu,ZnSOD) from Haemophilus ducreyi is the only enzyme of this class which binds a heme molecule at its dimer interface. To explore the role of the enzyme in this heme-obligate bacterium, a sodC mutant was created by insertional inactivation. No difference in growth rate was observed during heme limitation. In contrast, under heme rich conditions growth of the sodC mutant was impaired compared to the wild type strain. This growth defect was abolished by supplementation of exogenous catalase. Genetic complementation of the sodC mutant in trans demonstrated that the enzymatic property or the heme-binding activity of the protein could repair the growth defect of the sodC mutant. These results indicate that Cu,ZnSOD protects Haemophilus ducreyi from heme toxicity.
Keywords: Cu,ZnSOD; Superoxide dismutase; Heme; Haemophilus ducreyi

Siderotyping of fluorescent Pseudomonas: molecular mass determination by mass spectrometry as a powerful pyoverdine siderotyping method by Jean-Marie Meyer; Christelle Gruffaz; Vololoniaina Raharinosy; Irina Bezverbnaya; Mathias Schäfer; Herbert Budzikiewicz (259-271).
The numerous pyoverdines so far characterized as siderophores of fluorescent Pseudomonas could be usually differentiated one from each others by the two physico-chemical and physiological methods of siderotyping, i.e., siderophore-isoelectrofocusing and siderophore-mediated iron uptake. As shown in the present paper, the structural diversity of the peptide chain characterizing these molecules results in a very large panel of molecular masses representing 64 different values ranging from 889 to 1,764 Da for the 68 compounds included in the study, with only a few structurally different compounds presenting an identical molecular mass. Thus, the molecular mass determination of pyoverdines through mass spectrometry could be used as a powerful siderotyping method.
Keywords: Pseudomonas ; Siderophore; Pyoverdine; Siderotyping; Mass spectrometry

Non-transferrin-bound iron in plasma following administration of oral iron drugs by Bernd Dresow; Doerte Petersen; Roland Fischer; Peter Nielsen (273-276).
Non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) was detected in serum samples from volunteers with normal iron stores or from patients with iron deficiency anaemia after oral application of pharmaceutical iron preparations. Following a 100 mg ferrous iron dosage, NTBI values up to 9 μM were found within the time period of 1–4 h after administration whereas transferrin saturation was clearly below 100%. Smaller iron dosages (10 and 30 mg) gave lower but still measurable NTBI values. The physiological relevance of this finding for patients under iron medication has to be elucidated.
Keywords: Non-transferrin-bound iron—NTBI; Oral iron drugs; Transferrin saturation; Iron medication; Risk factor

The conductance of oocytes expressing T338C CFTR (Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator) exhibits variable responses to dithiothreitol (DTT) and 2-mercaptoethanol (2-ME) that we proposed might be due to the extraction of copper from an adventitious binding site (Liu et al. J Biol Chem 281(12):8275–8285, 2006). In order to study the origins of variability in chemical reactivity of T338C CFTR channels, oocytes expressing T338C CFTR were exposed to BCNU (bischloroethylnitrosourea), an inhibitor of glutathione reductase. BCNU treatment caused a significant reduction of initial conductance and an increase in the response to 2-ME or DTT, suggesting a direct or indirect influence of intracellular glutathione (GSH), a major determinant of the disposition of intracellular copper. Single-channel recordings indicated that T338C CFTR channels not exposed to 2-ME or DTT exhibited multiple conductance levels not seen in T338A CFTR channels. Exposure to BCNU shifted the distribution of single-channel current amplitudes towards lower values, whereas exposure to DTT favored higher amplitudes. These results suggest that the altered chemical state of T338C channels is associated with a decreased single-channel conductance and that intracellular factors (most likely GSH) may modulate the propensity of the channel to form these altered states.
Keywords: CFTR; Copper; Glutathione; Engineered cysteine; Channel

Genotoxicity and mutagenicity of iron and copper in mice by Daniel Prá; Silvia Isabel Rech Franke; Raquel Giulian; Maria Lúcia Yoneama; Johnny Ferraz Dias; Bernardo Erdtmann; João Antonio Pêgas Henriques (289-297).
The toxicity of trace metals is still incompletely understood. We have previously shown that a single oral dose of iron or copper induces genotoxic effects in mice in vivo, as detected by single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay). Here, we report the effect of these metals on subchronic exposure. Mice were gavaged for six consecutive days with either water, 33.2 mg/kg iron, or 8.5 mg/kg copper. On the 7th day, the neutral and alkaline comet assays in whole blood and the bone marrow micronucleus (MN) test were used as genotoxicity and mutagenicity endpoints, respectively. Particle induced X-ray emission was used to determine liver levels of the metals. Females showed a slightly lower DNA damage background, but there was no significant difference between genders for any endpoint. Iron and copper were genotoxic and mutagenic. While copper was more genotoxic in the neutral version, iron was more genotoxic in the alkaline version of the comet assay. Copper induced the highest mutagenicity as evaluated by the MN test. Iron was not mutagenic to male mice. Iron is thought to induce more oxidative lesions than copper, which are primarily detected in the alkaline comet assay. Treatment with iron, but not with copper, induced a significant increase in the hepatic level of the respective metal, reflecting different excretion strategies.
Keywords: Transition metals; Ferrous sulfate; Cupric sulfate; Comet assay; Micronucleus test

Dinuclear complexes Bis [aqua 1,8-(1,2-dicarboxamido benzene) 3,6-diazaoctane copper (II)/nickel (II)] tetrachloride (1 and 2) were synthesized by a two component one-pot metal template condensation between phthalic anhydride and 1,8-diamino 3,6-diazaoctane. Elemental analysis, molar conductance measurements, electronic absorption, infra-red, electron paramagnetic resonance, nuclear magnetic resonance, atomic absorption, and electron spray mass spectral studies have been performed to probe the nature and structure of the complexes. The interaction of copper (II) complex with calf thymus (CT-DNA) has been studied by using absorption, emission and circular dichoric spectral methods, viscometry, and cyclic voltammetry. A strong hyperchromism along with a red shift in UV bands and hypochromism in the ligand field band of the complex 1 on interaction with CT-DNA imply a covalent mode of DNA binding. This is further confirmed by studying the reactivity of complex 1 using circular dichroism and viscosity measurements. The variation in relative emission intensity of DNA-bound ethidium bromide observed upon treatment with the complex 1 parallel the trend of DNA binding studies. Cyclic voltammetry studies reveal that the complex 1 prefers to bind to DNA in Cu(II) rather than Cu(I) oxidation state.
Keywords: Carboxamide derived Cu(II) complex; DNA binding studies; Absorption and emission spectroscopy; Electrochemistry; Covalent binding

The histochemical distribution of mercury in the kidneys and gut of frogs (Rana ridibunda) exposed to inorganic mercury was analyzed with autometallography (AMG). It was found that most mercury in the kidneys accumulated in the proximal convoluted tubules as Hg–S nanocrystal, while control animals were totally void of AMG grains. In the gut the highest concentration of mercury was observed in the large intestine. The AMG grains were primarily located in the apical part of the absorptive cells, although rather high concentrations of silver enhanced mercury quantum dots were also detected in a special cell type of gut epithelium and the glycocalyx. A certain amount of AMG grains were detected in the lumen of the gut. We hypothesize that this pool of quantum dots results from sloughed off epithelial cells and macrophages. Such still intact cells and red blood cells containing AMG grains were also found in the lumen of the gut.
Keywords: Frog; Autometallography (AMG); Mercury; Kidney; Gut

Mechanisms of bacterial resistance to chromium compounds by Martha I. Ramírez-Díaz; César Díaz-Pérez; Eréndira Vargas; Héctor Riveros-Rosas; Jesús Campos-García; Carlos Cervantes (321-332).
Chromium is a non-essential and well-known toxic metal for microorganisms and plants. The widespread industrial use of this heavy metal has caused it to be considered as a serious environmental pollutant. Chromium exists in nature as two main species, the trivalent form, Cr(III), which is relatively innocuous, and the hexavalent form, Cr(VI), considered a more toxic species. At the intracellular level, however, Cr(III) seems to be responsible for most toxic effects of chromium. Cr(VI) is usually present as the oxyanion chromate. Inhibition of sulfate membrane transport and oxidative damage to biomolecules are associated with the toxic effects of chromate in bacteria. Several bacterial mechanisms of resistance to chromate have been reported. The best characterized mechanisms comprise efflux of chromate ions from the cell cytoplasm and reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III). Chromate efflux by the ChrA transporter has been established in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Cupriavidus metallidurans (formerly Alcaligenes eutrophus) and consists of an energy-dependent process driven by the membrane potential. The CHR protein family, which includes putative ChrA orthologs, currently contains about 135 sequences from all three domains of life. Chromate reduction is carried out by chromate reductases from diverse bacterial species generating Cr(III) that may be detoxified by other mechanisms. Most characterized enzymes belong to the widespread NAD(P)H-dependent flavoprotein family of reductases. Several examples of bacterial systems protecting from the oxidative stress caused by chromate have been described. Other mechanisms of bacterial resistance to chromate involve the expression of components of the machinery for repair of DNA damage, and systems related to the homeostasis of iron and sulfur.
Keywords: Chromate resistance; Chromate efflux; Chromate reduction

Spectroscopic investigations of U(VI) species sorbed by the green algae Chlorella vulgaris by Alix Günther; Johannes Raff; Gerhard Geipel; Gert Bernhard (333-341).
The green alga Chlorella vulgaris has the ability to bind high amounts of uranium(VI) in the pH range from 3 to 6. At pH 3 up to 40% of the uranium are bound by the algal cells. The uranium removal is almost complete at pH 5 and 6 under the given experimental conditions. Scanning electron microscopy and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy were used to characterize uranyl species formed in the selected pH range. The micrographs show a regular distribution of U(VI) on the cell surface. Fluorescence spectroscopic investigations of formed algal uranyl complexes indicate that the binding of U(VI) to carboxyl groups plays a dominating role at pH 3, whereas a minor impact of organic phosphate compounds on the U(VI) sorption cannot be excluded. In contrast, at pH 5 and 6 the phosphate groups are mainly responsible for the removal and binding of U(VI) by formation of organic and/or inorganic uranyl phosphates.
Keywords: Uranium(VI); Green algae; Sorption; Complexation; TRLFS; REM-EDX

Multiple mechanisms account for lower plasma iron in young copper deficient rats by Joshua W. Pyatskowit; Joseph R. Prohaska (343-352).
Copper deficiency lowers brain copper and iron during development. The reduced iron content could be due to hypoferremia. Experiments were conducted to evaluate plasma iron and “ferroxidase” hypotheses by determining copper and iron status of Holtzman albino rats following gestational/lactational copper deficiency. Copper deficient (Cu−) dams on treatment for 5 weeks, two of gestation and three of lactation, had markedly lower copper content of milk and mammary tissue, and lower milk iron. Newborn pups from Cu− dams had lower copper and iron concentrations. Compared to Cu+ pups, Cu− pups, analyzed between postnatal age (P) 0 and P26, were smaller, anemic, had lower plasma iron, cardiac hypertrophy, and near zero ceruloplasmin activity. Liver copper in Cu+ pups increased then decreased during development and major reductions were evident in Cu− pups. Liver iron in Cu+ pups decreased with age while nursing but increased after eating solid food. Liver iron was lower in Cu− pups at P0 and P13 and normal at P20 and P26. Small intestinal copper decreased with age in Cu+ pups and was lower in Cu− pups. Intestinal iron levels in Cu− pups were higher than Cu+ pups postweaning in some experiments. Reduction in plasma iron in Cu− pups is likely due to a decreased “ferroxidase” function leading to lower placental iron transport, a lower milk iron diet, and partial block in iron uptake from intestine but is not due to failure to mobilize hepatic iron, in contrast to older rats eating diet with adequate iron.
Keywords: Copper deficiency; Rats; Plasma iron; Ceruloplasmin; Milk; Intestine

Microbial acquisition of iron from natural sources in aerobic environments is a little-studied process that may lead to mineral instability and trace metal mobilization. Pseudomonas mendocina ymp was isolated from the Yucca Mountain Site for long-term nuclear waste storage. Its ability to solubilize a variety of Fe-containing minerals under aerobic conditions has been previously investigated but its molecular and genetic potential remained uncharacterized. Here, we have shown that the organism produces a hydroxamate and not a catecholate-based siderophore that is synthesized via non-ribosomal peptide synthetases. Gene clustering patterns observed in other Pseudomonads suggested that hybridizing multiple probes to the same library could allow for the identification of one or more clusters of syntenic siderophore-associated genes. Using this approach, two independent clusters were identified. An unfinished draft genome sequence of P. mendocina ymp indicated that these mapped to two independent contigs. The sequenced clusters were investigated informatically and shown to contain respectively a potentially complete set of genes responsible for siderophore biosynthesis, uptake, and regulation, and an incomplete set of genes with low individual homology to siderophore-associated genes. A mutation in the cluster’s pvdA homolog (pmhA) resulted in a siderophore-null phenotype, which could be reversed by complementation. The organism likely produces one siderophore with possibly different isoforms and a peptide backbone structure containing seven residues (predicted sequence: Acyl-Asp-Dab-Ser-fOHOrn-Ser-fOHorn). A similar approach could be applied for discovery of Fe− and siderophore-associated genes in unsequenced or poorly annotated organisms.
Keywords: Siderophore; Iron; Bacteria; Mineral

Features of ceruloplasmin in the cerebrospinal fluid of Alzheimer’s disease patients by Concetta R. Capo; Mario Arciello; Rosanna Squitti; Emanuele Cassetta; Paolo Maria Rossini; Lilia Calabrese; Luisa Rossi (367-372).
The level of the apo-form of the copper enzyme ceruloplasmin (CP) is an established peripheral marker in diseases associated with copper imbalance. In view of the proposal that disturbances of copper homeostasis may contribute to neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the present work investigates, by Western blot and non-reducing SDS-PAGE followed by activity staining, the features of CP protein, and the copper/CP relationship in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum of AD patients. Results show that only a fraction of total copper is associated with CP in the CSF, at variance with serum, both in affected and in healthy individuals. Furthermore, a conspicuous amount of apo-ceruloplasmin and a decrease of CP oxidase activity characterize the CSF of the affected individuals, and confirm that an impairment of copper metabolism occurs in their central nervous system. In the CSF of AD patients the decrease of active CP, associated with the increase in the pool of copper not sequestered by this protein, may play a role in the neurodegenerative process.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Copper; Ceruloplasmin; Serum; Cerebrospinal fluid

An evaluation study of trace element content in colorectal liver metastases and surrounding normal livers by X-ray fluorescence by Kurinchi S. Gurusamy; Michael J. Farquharson; Claire Craig; Brian R. Davidson (373-378).
Background Trace elements are involved in many key pathways involving cell cycle control. The levels of trace metals such as iron, copper, and zinc in colorectal liver metastases have not previously been assessed. Methods The trace element content in snap-frozen cancerous liver tissue from patients who underwent liver resection for colorectal liver metastases was compared with the normal surrounding liver (distant from the cancer) using X-ray fluorescence (XRF). Results X-ray fluorescence was performed on a total of 60 samples from 30 patients. Of these 29 matched pairs (of cancer and normal liver distant from cancer from the same patient) were eligible for univariate analysis. Iron (0.00598 vs. 0.02306), copper (0.00541 vs. 0.00786) and zinc (0.01790 vs. 0.04873) were statistically significantly lower in the cancer tissue than the normal liver. Iron, copper, and zinc were lower in the cancer tissue than in the normal liver in 24/29 (82.8%), 23/29 (79.3%), and 28/29 (96.6%) of cases respectively. Multivariate analysis of the 60 samples revealed that zinc was the only trace element decreased in the cancer tissue after adjusting for the other elements. Zinc levels were not affected by any of the histopathological variables. Conclusion Iron, copper, and zinc are lower in colorectal liver metastases than normal liver. An investigation into the pathways underlying these differences may provide a new understanding of cancer development and possible novel therapeutic targets.
Keywords: Trace elements; Iron; Zinc; Copper; Metastasis; Liver; X-ray fluorescence spectrometry