BioMetals (v.22, #5)

Cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury have been linked to autism, attention deficit disorder, mental retardation and death of children. Mercury in thimerosal found in many vaccines and flu shots contributes significantly to these problems. Decomposition of the thimerosal can produce more toxic compounds, either methylethylmercury or diethylmercury, in the body. These compounds have a toxicity level similar to dimethylmercury. Within the human body, a mitochondrial disorder may release the more toxic form of mercury internally. Young children and pregnant women must minimize internal exposure to the vaccines and flu shots containing mercury.
Keywords: Toxic metals; Thimerosal; Mercury; Premature birth; Autism

Synthesis and characterization of glucosyl-curcuminoids as Fe3+ suppliers in the treatment of iron deficiency by Erika Ferrari; Beatrice Arezzini; Marco Ferrali; Sandra Lazzari; Francesca Pignedoli; Ferdinando Spagnolo; Monica Saladini (701-710).
The Fe3+ chelating ability of some curcumin glucosyl derivatives (Glc-H; Glc-OH; Glc-OCH3) is tested by means of UV and NMR study. The pK a values of the ligands and the overall stability constants of Fe3+ and Ga3+ complexes are evaluated from UV spectra. The only metal binding site of the ligand is the β-diketo moiety in the keto-enolic form; the glucosyl moiety does not interact with metal ion but it contributes to the stability of metal/ligand 1:2 complexes by means of hydrophilic interactions. These glucosyl derivatives are able to bind Fe3+ in a wide pH rage, forming complex species thermodynamically more stable than those of other ligands commonly used in the treatment of iron deficiency. In addition they demonstrate to have a poor affinity for competitive biological metal ions such as Ca2+. All ligands and their iron complexes have a good lypophilicity (log P > −0.7) suggesting an efficient gastrointestinal absorption in view of their possible use as iron supplements in oral therapy. The ligand molecules are also tested for their antioxidant properties in “ex vivo” biological system.
Keywords: Curcuminoidic compounds; Metal complexes; β-Diketo ligands

Purification and characterization of arsenite oxidase from Arthrobacter sp. by Kumar Suranjit Prasad; V. Subramanian; Jaishree Paul (711-721).
The chemolithoautotroph, Arthrobacter sp.15b oxidizes arsenite to arsenate using a membrane bound arsenite oxidase. The enzyme arsenite oxidase is purified to its homogeneity and identified using MALDI-TOF MS analysis. Upon further characterization, it was observed that the enzyme is a heterodimer showing native molecular mass as ~100 kDa and appeared as two subunits of ~85 kDa LSU and 14 kDa SSU on SDS–PAGE. The V max and K m values of the enzyme was found to be 2.45 μM (AsIII)/min/mg) and 26 μM, respectively. The purified enzyme could withstand wide range of pH and temperature changes. The enzyme, however, gets deactivated in the presence of 1 mM of DEPC suggesting the involvement of histidine at the binding site of the enzyme. The peptide analysis of large sub unit of the enzyme showed close match with the arsenite oxidases of Burkholderia sp. YI019A and arsenite oxidase, Mo-pterin containing subunit of Alcaligenes faecalis. The small subunit, however, differed from other arsenite oxidases and matched only with 2Fe–2S binding protein of Anaplasma phagocytophilum. This indicates that Rieske subunits containing the iron–sulfur clusters present in the large as well as small subunits of the enzyme are integral part of the protein.
Keywords: Arsenite oxidase; Arthrobacter sp.15b; MALDI-TOF MS

Ultrastructural evidence for iron accumulation within the tube of Vestimentiferan Ridgeia piscesae by Xiaotong Peng; Huaiyang Zhou; Huiqiang Yao; Jiangtao Li; Zijun Wu (723-732).
This study reports on the accumulation of iron within the tube wall of the deep sea vent macro invertebrate Vestimentiferan Ridgeia piscesae collected from Juan de Fuca ridge. Combining an array of approaches including environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM), electron probe micro-analysis (EPMA), X-ray microanalysis (EDS) and transmission electron microscope (TEM), we provide evidences for the influence of prokaryotic organisms on the accumulation of metals on and within the tube wall. Two types of iron-rich minerals such as iron oxides and framboidal pyrites are identified within or on the tube wall. Our results reveal the presence of prokaryotic organism is apparently responsible for the early accumulation of iron-rich minerals in the tube wall. The implications of the biomineralisation of iron in tube wall at hydrothermal vents are discussed.
Keywords: Hydrothermal vent; Ridgeia piscesae; Tube wall; Prokaryotic organism; Iron; Biomineralisation

X-ray crystal and other structural analyses indicate that Yb(III) and all four newly synthesized ligands can form a binuclear Yb(III) complex with a 1:1 metal to ligand stoichiometry by octacoordination at the Yb(III) center. Investigations of DNA binding properties show that all the ligands and Yb(III) complexes can bind to Calf thymus DNA through intercalations with the binding constants at the order of magnitude 105–107 M−1, but Yb(III) complexes present stronger affinities to DNA than ligands. All the ligands and Yb(III) complexes may be used as potential anticancer drugs. Investigations of antioxidation properties show that all the ligands and Yb(III) complexes have strong scavenging effects for hydroxyl radicals and superoxide radicals but Yb(III) complexes show stronger scavenging effects for hydroxyl radicals than ligands.
Keywords: Rare earths; Schiff bases; X-ray crystallography; Calf thymus DNA binding properties; Antioxidation

Cadmium (Cd) is a highly toxic metal that enters the food chain. Following oral ingestion, the intestinal epithelium is the first biological barrier crossed by Cd and is also an important target tissue. In the present study, the human intestinal Caco-2 cell line was used to evaluate the impact of a low level of exposure on both undifferentiated and differentiated intestinal cells. As revealed by the LC50 values estimated with the 3-[4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, mature Caco-2 cells were more resistant to Cd. However, following a 24-h exposure to non-cytotoxic levels of Cd (10 μM) or zinc (Zn, 100 μM), threefold increases were obtained in the LC50 values of 7-day-old cells, whereas increased resistance in 21-day-old cells was observed exclusively with Zn. Induction of MT-IIa and HSP70 mRNAs was higher in undifferentiated cells and an increase in cellular glutathione (GSH) content was observed exclusively in these cell cultures. However, the results obtained with cycloheximide used for inhibiting protein synthesis and with l-buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), which inhibits GSH synthesis, revealed that protein synthesis is not a prerequisite to the development of resistance. The presence of 100 mM 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole (3AT), a catalase inhibitor, prevented Cd-induced but not Zn-induced resistance, as well as sensitized cells to Cd toxicity. These results show for the first time differences in constitutive and acquired resistance to Cd as a function of enterocytic differentiation status and suggest the involvement of different mechanisms for Cd- and Zn-induced adaptation in the intestinal cells. Redox signals may trigger Cd-induced adaptation mechanisms but pro-oxidant conditions would eliminate proliferative intestinal cells capability to develop resistance. This would be critical for Cd- but not Zn-induced mechanisms of resistance since Cd but not Zn may cause oxidative stress.
Keywords: Cadmium; Zinc; MT; HSP70; GSH; Oxidative stress; Tolerance; Intestinal differentiation; Caco-2 cells

Citric acid is an important metal chelator of biological relevance. Citric acid helps solubilizing metals, increasing their bioavailability for plants and microbes and it is also thought to be a constituent of both the extracellular and cytoplasmic low molecular iron pools occurring in plants and vertebrates. Metal coordination by citric acid involves coordination both by the carboxylate and hydroxyl groups, of particular interest is its α-hydroxycarboxylate function. This structural feature is highly conserved in siderophores produced by evolutionarily distant species and seems to confer specificity toward Fe(III) binding. In order to understand the mechanism of metal coordination by α-hydroxycarboxylates and correctly evaluate the respective complex stability constants, it is essential to improve the knowledge about the ionisation of the alcohol group in these compounds. We have evaluated the hydroxyl pKa value of citric, malic and lactic acids with the objective of understanding the influence of α-carbon substitution. Studies at high pH values, utilizing 13C NMR, permitted estimation of the pKa values for the three acids. The pKa (alcohol) values (14.4 for citric acid, 14.5 for malic acid, and 15.1 for lactic acid) are considerably higher than the previously reported value for citric acid (11.6) but still lower than the value of 15.5 for methanol. A comparative analysis of the three compounds indicates that different substitutions on the α-carbon introduce changes to the inductive effect experienced by the hydroxyl group thereby modulating its ionisation behaviour. Comparison with the siderophore rhizoferrin, which pKa (alcohol) values were confirmed to be 10 and 11.3, suggests that intra-molecular hydrogen bonding may also aid in the hydroxyl ionisation by stabilizing the resulting anion. Studies of metal coordination by α-hydroxycarboxylates should take these factors into account.
Keywords: Citrate; Malate; Lactate; pKa; Siderophores; α-Hydroxycarboxylate

Cadmium-induced oxidative stress in two potato cultivars by J. F. Gonçalves; L. A. Tabaldi; D. Cargnelutti; L. B. Pereira; J. Maldaner; A. G. Becker; L. V. Rossato; R. Rauber; M. D. Bagatini; D. A. Bisognin; M. R. C. Schetinger; F. T. Nicoloso (779-792).
A hydroponic experiment was carried out to characterize the oxidative stress responses of two potato cultivars (Solanum tuberosum L. cvs. Asterix and Macaca) to cadmium (Cd). Plantlets were exposed to four Cd levels (0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 μM) for 7 days. Cd concentration was increased in both roots and shoot. Number of sprouts and roots was not decreased, whereas Cd treatment affected the number of nodal segments. Chlorophyll content and ALA-D activity were decreased in both cultivars, whereas carotenoids content was decreased only in Macaca. Cd caused lipid peroxidation in roots and shoot of both cultivars. Protein oxidation was only verified at the highest Cd level. H2O2 content was increased in roots and shoot of Asterix, and apparently, a compensatory response between roots and shoot of Macaca was observed. SOD activity was inhibited in roots of Asterix at all Cd treatments, whereas in Macaca it was only increased at two highest Cd levels. Shoot SOD activity increased in Asterix and decreased in Macaca. Root CAT activity in Asterix decreased at 100 and 150 μM, whereas in Macaca it decreased only at 50 μM. Shoot CAT activity was decreased in Macaca. Root AsA content in Macaca was not affected, whereas in shoot it was reduced at 100 μM and increased at 200 μM. Cd caused increase in NPSH content in roots and shoot. Our results suggest that Cd induces oxidative stress in both potato cultivars and that of the two cultivars, Asterix showed greater sensitivity to Cd levels.
Keywords: Antioxidant system; ALA-D; Cd toxicity; Growth; Solanum tuberosum ; Oxidative stress

Characterization of feline serum ferritin-binding proteins: the presence of a novel ferritin-binding protein as an inhibitory factor in feline ferritin immunoassay by Hirofumi Sakamoto; Tomomi Kuboi; Takahiko Nagakura; Sayako Hayashi; Fumio Hoshi; Kenichiro Mutoh; Kiyotaka Watanabe; Koichi Orino (793-802).
Ferritin-binding proteins (FBPs) such as anti-ferritin antibody, α-2-macroglobulin, apolipoprotein B are expected to interact with circulating ferritin to eliminate it from circulation. However, we found that feline serum more strongly inhibits the detection of canine liver ferritin by immunoassay than its apoferritin; putative FBPs probably conceal ferritin epitopes detected by anti-ferritin antibodies. After complex formation between affinity-purified FBPs and canine liver ferritin, co-immunoprecipitates of the complex by anti-bovine spleen ferritin antibody were found to contain autoantibodies (IgG, IgM, and IgA) to ferritin by immunoblot analysis with antibodies specific for feline IgG, IgM, and IgA. On the other hand, affinity-purified samples did not show any inhibitory effect in the ferritin immunoassay. This result shows that feline serum has another FBP, which inhibits ferritin immunoassays, but not anti-ferritin autoantibody. A feline FBP was partially purified from feline serum by (NH4)2SO4 fractionation (33–50%), gel filtration chromatography, and anion exchange chromatography. After binding of the partially purified sample with canine liver ferritin coupled-Sepharose gel, the FBP was separated and purified from complexes formed in a native-PAGE gel. SDS–PAGE analysis showed that the purified FBP is a homomultimer composed of 31 kDa monomeric subunits connected by intermolecular disulfide bonds. Detection of feline liver ferritin by immunoassay was inhibited by FBP in a dose-dependent manner. The purified protein molecules appeared to be conglomerate of pentraxin-like molecules by its electron micrographic appearance. These results demonstrate that feline serum contains a novel FBP as inhibitory factor of ferritin immunoassay with different molecular properties from those of other mammalian FBPs, in addition to auto-antibodies (IgG, IgM, and IgA) to ferritin.
Keywords: Anti-ferritin autoantibody; Ferritin; Ferritin-binding protein; Immunoassay

Zinc transport by respiratory epithelial cells and interaction with iron homeostasis by Zhongping Deng; Lisa A. Dailey; Joleen Soukup; Jacqueline Stonehuerner; Judy D. Richards; Kimberly D. Callaghan; Funmei Yang; Andrew J. Ghio (803-815).
Despite recurrent exposure to zinc through inhalation of ambient air pollution particles, relatively little information is known about the homeostasis of this metal in respiratory epithelial cells. We describe zinc uptake and release by respiratory epithelial cells and test the postulate that Zn2+ transport interacts with iron homeostasis in these same cells. Zn2+ uptake after 4 and 8 h of exposure to zinc sulfate was concentration- and time-dependent. A majority of Zn2+ release occurred in the 4 h immediately following cell exposure to ZnSO4. Regarding metal importers, mRNA for Zip1 and Zip2 showed no change after respiratory epithelial cell exposure to zinc while mRNA for divalent metal transporter (DMT)1 increased. Western blot assay for DMT1 protein supported an elevated expression of this transport protein following zinc exposure. RT-PCR confirmed mRNA for the metal exporters ZnT1 and ZnT4 with the former increasing after ZnSO4. Cell concentrations of ferritin increased with zinc exposure while oxidative stress, measured as lipid peroxides, was decreased supporting an anti-oxidant function for Zn2+. Increased DMT1 expression, following pre-incubations of respiratory epithelial cells with TNF-α, IFN-γ, and endotoxin, was associated with significantly decreased intracellular zinc transport. Finally, incubations of respiratory epithelial cells with both zinc sulfate and ferric ammonium citrate resulted in elevated intracellular concentrations of both metals. We conclude that exposure to zinc increases iron uptake by respiratory epithelial cells. Elevations in cell iron can possibly affect an increased expression of DMT1 and ferritin which function to diminish oxidative stress. Comparable to other metal exposures, changes in iron homeostasis may contribute to the biological effects of zinc in specific cells and tissues.
Keywords: Zinc compounds; Iron; Oxidative stress; Divalent metal transporter 1; Ferritin; Membrane transporters; Metals; Lung

Important roles of the conserved linker-KKS in human neuronal growth inhibitory factor by Zhi-Chun Ding; Xin-Chen Teng; Qi Zheng; Feng-Yun Ni; Bin Cai; Yang Wang; Guo-Ming Zhou; Hong-Zhe Sun; Xiang-Shi Tan; Zhong-Xian Huang (817-826).
Metallothinein-3 (MT3), also named neuronal growth inhibitory factor (GIF), is attractive by its distinct neuronal growth inhibitory activity, which is not shared by other MT isoforms. The polypeptide chain of GIF is folded into two individual domains, which are connected by a highly conserved linker, KKS. In order to figure out the significance of the conserved segment, we constructed several mutants of human GIF (hGIF), including the K31/32A mutant, the K31/32E mutant and the KKS-SP mutant by site-directed mutagenesis. pH titration and DTNB reaction exhibited that all the three mutations made the β-domain lower in stability and looser. More significantly, change of KKS to SP also altered the general backbone conformation and metal–thiolate cluster geometry. Notably, bioassay results showed that the bioactivity of the K31/32A mutant and the K31/32E mutant decreased obviously, while the KKS-SP mutant lost inhibitory activity completely. Based on these results, we proposed that the KKS linker was a crucial factor in modulating the stability and the solvent accessibility of the Cd3S9 cluster in the β-domain through domain–domain interactions, thus was indispensable to the biological activity of hGIF.
Keywords: Metallothionein; Neuronal growth inhibitory factor; Linker; Mutation; Cell culture

Age-related changes in iron homeostasis in mouse ferroxidase mutants by Huijun Chen; Zouhair K. Attieh; Hua Gao; Gang Huang; Trent Su; Weixiong Ke; Chris D. Vulpe (827-834).
Disorders of iron metabolism are a significant problem primarily in young and old populations. In this study, We compared 1-year-old C57BL6/J mice on iron deficient, iron overload, or iron sufficient diets with two similarly aged genetic models of disturbed iron homeostasis, the sla (sex-linked anemia), and the ceruloplasmin knockout mice (Cp −/−) on iron sufficient diet. We found tissue specific changes in sla and nutritional iron deficiency including decreased liver Hamp1 expression and increased protein expression of the enterocyte basolateral iron transport components, hephaestin and ferroportin. In contrast, the Cp −/− mice did not show significantly increased Hamp1 expression despite increased liver iron suggesting that regulation is independent of liver iron levels. Together, these results suggest that older mice have a distinct response to alterations in iron metabolism and that age must be considered in future studies of iron metabolism.
Keywords: Hepcidin; Ceruloplasmin; Ferroportin; Hephaestin; Ferritin

Substrate role in the accumulation of heavy metals in sporocarps of wild fungi by Juan A. Campos; Noel A. Tejera; Carlos J. Sánchez (835-841).
The distribution of neodymium, lead, thorium and uranium was investigated in about 100 samples of 12 different species of common, edible and non-edible mushrooms collected in unpolluted areas in the province of Ciudad Real, Central Spain. The quantitative analysis of heavy metals was performed by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (a simple, accurate and non-destructive method). The concentration of these elements was related to three factors: mushroom specie, life style/substrate and study area. The results reveal considerable amounts of the four metals in all species analyzed as well as significant differences on the capability to accumulate these elements. The maximum absorption of Nd and Pb was found in the ectomycorrhizal Cantharellus cibarius, reaching values of 7.10 and 4.86 μg g−1, respectively. Thorium and uranium were mainly accumulated (3.63 and 4.13 μg g−1, respectively) in Hypholoma fasciculare although it is an epiphyte species, isolated from the mineral particles of soil. The distribution patterns of these metals in sporocarps of different habitats and locations showed no significant differences, except for thorium, mainly accumulated in mushrooms living on wood regarding these living on soil organic matter. The species-specific is therefore the determining factor for accumulation of Nd, Pb, Th and U, more than substrate, in this study.
Keywords: Epiphitic; Saprotrophic; Ectomycorrhizal; Lead; Neodymium; Thorium; Uranium

Impact of cadmium on aquatic bird Cairina moschata by Magali Lucia; Jean-Marc Andre; Patrice Gonzalez; Magalie Baudrimont; Karine Gontier; Regine Maury-Brachet; Stephane Davail (843-853).
The impact on palmiped Cairina moschata of two levels of dietary cadmium (Cd) contamination (C1: 1 mg kg−1 and C10: 10 mg kg−1) was investigated on liver gene expression by real-time PCR. Genes involved in mitochondrial metabolism, in antioxidant defences, detoxification and in DNA damage repair were studied. Metallothionein (MT) protein levels and Cd bioaccumulation were also investigated in liver, kidneys and muscle. Male ducks were subjected to three periods of exposure: 10, 20 and 40 days. Cd was mainly bioaccumulated in kidneys first and in liver. The concentrations in liver and kidneys appeared to reach a stable level at 20 days of contamination even if the concentrations in muscle still increased. Cd triggered the enhancement of mitochondrial metabolism, the establishment of antioxidant defences (superoxide dismutase Mn and Cu/Zn; catalase) and of DNA repair from 20 days of contamination. Discrepancies were observed in liver between MT protein levels and MT gene up-regulation. MT gene expression appeared to be a late hour biomarker.
Keywords: Cadmium; Palmiped; Cairina moschata ; Gene expression; Metallothionein

Modulation of intracellular iron levels by oxidative stress implicates a novel role for iron in signal transduction by Suman Deb; Erin E. Johnson; Raquel L. Robalinho-Teixeira; Marianne Wessling-Resnick (855-862).
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) display cytotoxicity that can be exacerbated by iron. Paradoxically, HeLa cells treated with the ROS-generators menadione and 2,3-dimethoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone display increased free labile iron. HeLa cells exposed to ROS undergo apoptosis but iron chelation limits the extent of cell death suggesting the rise in intracellular iron plays a signaling role in this pathway. This idea is supported by the fact that iron chelation also alters the pattern of ROS-induced phosphorylation of stress-activated protein kinases SAPK/JNK and p38 MAPK. Thus, ROS-induced increases in cellular free iron contribute to signaling events triggered during oxidative stress response.
Keywords: Iron; Reactive oxygen species; Signal transduction; Apoptosis