BioMetals (v.21, #6)

Analytical variables affecting exchangeable copper determination in blood plasma by Wayne T. Buckley; Richard A. Vanderpool (601-612).
To resolve discrepancies observed in the determination of plasma exchangeable Cu (also called direct reacting Cu or loosely bound Cu) by several methods, plasma storage techniques and various aspects of a stable isotope dilution procedure for exchangeable Cu were evaluated. Results indicated that the exchangeable Cu fraction of plasma increased with storage at room temperature, at 5°C and when subjected to repeated freeze/thaw cycles. Samples could be safely stored at −65°C. Exchange between added 65Cu2+ and endogenous plasma Cu rapidly went to completion in the isotope dilution procedure. Analytical results were unaffected by shaking method, sample size or the presence of heparin. A small difference was observed between serum and plasma. The determination of exchangeable Cu did not vary over a period of 4 h when plasma was exposed to 1.6 × 10−4-M sodium diethyldithiocarbamate (used in the isotope dilution method) but steadily increased when exposed to 1.1 × 10−2-M sodium diethyldithiocarbamate, which suggested that tightly bound Cu (probably in ceruloplasmin) was exchanging with isotopic tracer at the higher concentration. Determination of exchangeable Cu was constant from pH 7.2–8.5 but increased substantially at higher pH. Complete recovery of natural Cu added to plasma was obtained. Studies in solution indicated that 65Cu2+ exchanged readily with albumin- and amino acid-bound Cu. Ultrafiltration of plasma yielded a Cu fraction about half that of the exchangeable Cu fraction. We conclude that the stable isotope dilution procedure for plasma exchangeable Cu yields reliable, physiologically meaningful results.
Keywords: Direct reacting copper; Loosely bound copper; Serum; Stable isotope dilution analysis; Ceruloplasmin

Responses of Rhodotorula sp. Y11 to cadmium by ZhiJian Li; HongLi Yuan (613-621).
Some aspects of the cellular responses to cadmium were extensively investigated in the yeast Rhodotorula sp. Y11. Scanning electron microscopy indicated that accumulation of cadmium in the Y11 did not cause any visible effects on cell morphology. More than 20% yeast cells still showed viability after 15 h of cadmium accumulation under 100 mg l−1 cadmium concentration, and transmission electron microscopy analysis showed that plasmolysis and thickened cell wall were not observed in all of the cells. In the presence of cadmium, the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were all greater than the control, but the increase was in a dose-independent manner. Changes in SOD and CAT activities were also dependent on the time of exposure. Therefore, it suggests that antioxidative defenses play an important role in cadmium tolerance in Rhodotorula sp. Y11. Nondenaturing polyacrylamide gels revealed only one SOD isoforms in Y11 even under exposure to cadmium.
Keywords: Cadmium; Catalase; Rhodotorula sp.; Resistance; Superoxide dismutase

Cadmium (Cd) is a well-known nephrotoxicant inducing kidney damage via oxidative stress. Since kidney is the critical target organ of Cd toxicity, this study was designed to evaluate the protective effects of onion (Allium cepa L.) and garlic (Allium sativum L.) aqueous extracts on Cd-induced renal oxidative stress in male Wistar rats. The control group received double distilled water alone and Cd group was challenged with 3CdSO4 · 8H2O (as Cd) (1.5 mg/100 g bw/day per oral) alone. Extract-treated groups were pre-treated with varied doses (0.5 ml and 1.0 ml/100 g bw/day per oral) of onion and/or garlic extract for 1 week after which they were co-treated with Cd (1.5 mg/100 g bw/day per oral) for 3 weeks. The results showed that the levels of renal lipid peroxidation (LPO) and glutathione-S transferase (GST) were significantly (P < 0.001) increased in rats that received Cd alone relative to the control group. More so, the levels of renal glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and Na+/K+-ATPase were significantly (P < 0.001) decreased in rats that received Cd alone. Treatment of Cd-intoxicated rats with varied doses of onion and/or garlic extract significantly (P < 0.05) restored the alterations in these parameters relative to the group that received Cd alone. While treatment with high dose of onion extract exerted a significant dose-dependent restoration of these parameters, treatment with high dose of garlic elicited a pro-oxidant effect, relative to their respective low dose. Our study suggests that onion and garlic extracts may exert their protective effects via reduction in LPO and enhanced antioxidant defense. These extracts may, therefore, be useful nutritional option in alleviating Cd-induced renal damage.
Keywords: Onion; Garlic; Cadmium; Kidney; Nephrotoxicity; Protection

Tandem heterocyclization domains in a nonribosomal peptide synthetase essential for siderophore biosynthesis in Vibrio anguillarum by Manuela Di Lorenzo; Michiel Stork; Hiroaki Naka; Marcelo E. Tolmasky; Jorge H. Crosa (635-648).
Anguibactin, the siderophore produced by Vibrio anguillarum 775, is synthesized via a nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) mechanism. Most of the genes required for anguibactin biosynthesis are harbored by the pJM1 plasmid. Complete sequencing of this plasmid identified an orf encoding a 108 kDa predicted protein, AngN. In this work we show that AngN is essential for anguibactin biosynthesis and possesses two domains with homology to cyclization (Cy) domains of NRPSs. Substitution by alanine of the aspartic acid residues within a conserved motif of either Cy1 or Cy2 domain demonstrated the importance of these two domains in AngN function during siderophore biosynthesis. Site-directed mutations in both domains (D133A/D575A and D138A/D580A) resulted in anguibactin-deficient phenotypes while mutations in each domain did not abolish siderophore production but caused a reduction in the amounts produced. The mutations D133A/D575A and D138A/D580A also resulted as expected in a dramatic attenuation of the virulence of V. anguillarum 775 highlighting the importance of this gene for the biosynthesis of anguibactin within the vertebrate host. Regulation of the angN gene follows the patterns observed at the iron transport-biosynthesis promoter with angN transcription repressed in the presence of iron and enhanced by AngR and trans-acting factor (TAF) under iron limitation.
Keywords: Iron; Siderophore; Nonribosomal peptide synthetase; Heterocyclization domain

Cadmium (Cd), a well known environmental carcinogen, is a potent immunotoxicant. In rodents, it is primarily characterized by marked thymic atrophy and splenomegaly. Cadmium induces apoptosis in murine lymphocytes and alters the immune functions. Thus, for the amelioration of its effect, three structurally different bioactive herbal extracts such as piperine—alkaloid, picroliv—glycosides and curcumin—polyphenols were evaluated and their efficacy compared. For ascertaining their immunomodulatory role, various biochemical indices of cell damage such as cytotoxicity, oxidative stress (ROS, GSH), apoptosis (mitochondrial membrane potential, caspase-3 activity, phosphatidylserine externalization, apoptotic DNA) along with lymphocyte phenotyping, blastogenesis and cytokine secretion were assessed in thymic and splenic cell suspensions. Of the three herbals examined, piperine displayed maximum efficacy. All the three doses of piperine (1, 10 and 50 μg/ml) increased cell viability in a dose dependent manner, whereas curcumin and picroliv were also effective, but to a lesser degree. Only the two higher doses exhibited cell viability efficacy. The median doses ie 10 μg/ml, were therefore selected, for comparison of their antioxidant, anti-apoptotic and immune function modulation. Restoration of ROS and GSH was most prominent with piperine. The anti-apoptotic potential was directly proportional to their antioxidant nature. In addition, Cd altered blastogenesis, T and B cell phenotypes and cytokine release were also mitigated best with piperine. The ameliorative potential was in order of piperine > curcumin > picroliv and former could be considered the drug of choice under immunocompromised conditions.
Keywords: Cadmium; Piperine; Curcumin; Picroliv; Apoptosis; Oxidative stress

Influence of ladder concentration of nickel (Ni) on the leaves of Hydrocharis dubia were studied after 3 days treatment. The accumulation of Ni, the content of polyamines, proline, malondialdehyde (MDA) and soluble protein, as well as the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD) in the leaves were investigated. The result indicated that the toxicity of Ni manifested in respective aspect of physiological and biochemical characters. Significant increase of Ni concentration in the leaf tissue was observed, which was concentration dependent. Visible symptoms of Ni toxicity: chlorosis and necrosis occurred following the 3rd day. Meantime, treatment with Ni resulted in the increase in the generation rate of O 2 •− in the leaves. SOD and CAT activities decreased significantly in response to Ni treatment, it was possibly the reason of accumulation of O 2 •− . However, a several-fold decrease in POD activities was found. Our results indicated that because of prolonged increases in O 2 •− level, oxidative damage, measured as the level of lipid peroxidation, occured in the leaves of Ni treated fronds. The changes of the content of polyamines (PAs) were also investigated in the leaves of Hydrocharis dubia. Ni treatment significantly increased the putrescine (Put) level and lowered spermidine (Spd) and spermine (Spm) levels, thereby significantly reducing the ratio of free (Spd + Spm)/Put in leaves, which has been considered as the signal under stress. Although the trend that PS-conjugated PAs and PIS-bound PAs changed the same as free PAs, they changed in more less extent.
Keywords: Nickel; Polyamine; Physiology; Stress; Hydrocharis dubia

In order to systematically perform an experimental and theoretical study on DNA binding and photocleavage properties of transition metal complexes of the type [M(L)2(L1)](PF6)n · xH2O (where M = Co(III) or Ni(II), L = 1,10-phenanthroline or 2.2′ bipryidine, L1 = Thiophene [2,3-b] quinoline (qt), n = 3 or 2 and x = 5 or 2) have been synthesized and characterized by elemental analysis, IR, 1H NMR, UV and magnetic susceptibility data. The DNA-binding properties of these complexes have been investigated with UV-Vis, viscosity measurements, thermal denaturation and cyclic voltametric studies. It is experimentally found that all the complexes are bound to DNA via intercalation in the order [Co(bpy)2(qt)](PF6)3 > [Co(phen)2(qt)](PF6)3 > [Ni(phen)2(qt)](PF6)2 > [Ni(bpy)2(qt)](PF6)2. The photocleavage studies with pUC19 DNA shows that all these complexes promoted the conversion of SC form to NC form in absence of ‘inhibitors’.
Keywords: Mixed ligand complexes; Phenanthroline; Bipyridine; DNA binding; Photocleavage

Effect of FeSO4 treatment on glucose metabolism in diabetic rats by Zhicai Zhang; Bin Lian; Fengjie Cui (685-691).
Iron, the prosthetic group of haemoglobin, was found to lower serum glucose levels of diabetic rats. Its regulative mechanism and effects on enzymatic activities of glucose metabolism are still unknown. In this study, the correlation between iron supply and enzymatic activities of glucose metabolism and respiratory chain were evaluated in liver and kidney tissues of alloxan induced-diabetic rats. After FeSO4 and metformin administration, serum samples were collected for serum glucose and fructosamine level measurements. Kidney and liver tissues were excised at the end of the study for assaying enzymatic activities of isocitrate dehydrogenase, succinate dehydrogenase, malate dehydrogenase, NADH-dehydrogenase and cytochrome-c-oxidase. Results showed significantly decreased serum glucose and fructosamine levels in treatment groups and enhanced enzymatic activities of several proteins as compared with the diabetic control group. Therefore, these data suggested that FeSO4 administration could increase the supply of oxygen, enhance enzymatic activities of glucose metabolism and the respiratory chain, accelerate glucose metabolism and consequently decrease serum glucose levels.
Keywords: Glucose metabolism; Respiratory chain; Fructosamine; FeSO4 ; Haemoglobin

Iron–sulfur clusters are one of the most ubiquitous redox centers in biology. Ironically, iron-sulfur clusters are highly sensitive to reactive oxygen species. Disruption of iron-sulfur clusters will not only change the activity of proteins that host iron–sulfur clusters, the iron released from the disrupted iron–sulfur clusters will further promote the production of deleterious hydroxyl free radicals via the Fenton reaction. Here, we report that ferritin A (FtnA), a major iron-storage protein in Escherichia coli, is able to scavenge the iron released from the disrupted iron–sulfur clusters and alleviates the production of hydroxyl free radicals. Furthermore, we find that the iron stored in FtnA can be retrieved by an iron chaperon IscA for the re-assembly of the iron–sulfur cluster in a proposed scaffold IscU in the presence of the thioredoxin reductase system which emulates normal intracellular redox potential. The results suggest that E. coli FtnA may act as an iron buffer to sequester the iron released from the disrupted iron–sulfur clusters under oxidative stress conditions and to facilitate the re-assembly of the disrupted iron–sulfur clusters under normal physiological conditions.
Keywords: Ferritin A; Hydroxyl free radicals; Iron–sulfur clusters; IscA; IscU