BioMetals (v.27, #3)

Occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] has been firmly associated with the development of several pathologies, notably lung cancer. According to the current paradigm, the evolution of normal cells to a neoplastic state is accompanied by extensive metabolic reprogramming, namely at the level of energy-transducing processes. Thus, a complete understanding of the molecular basis of Cr(VI)-induced lung cancer must encompass the elucidation of the impact of Cr(VI) on metabolism. Research in this area is still in its infancy. Nonetheless, Cr(VI)-induced metabolic phenotypes are beginning to emerge. Specifically, it is now well documented that Cr(VI) exposure inhibits respiration and negatively affects the cellular energy status. Furthermore, preliminary results suggest that it also upregulates glucose uptake and lactic acid fermentation. From a mechanistic point of view, there is evidence that Cr(VI) exposure can interfere with energy transducing pathways at different levels, namely gene expression, intracellular protein levels and/or protein function. Loss of thiol redox control likely plays a key role in these processes. The transcriptional networks that control energy transduction can likewise be affected. Data also suggest that Cr(VI) exposure might compromise energy transducing processes through changes in the intracellular pools of their substrates. This article reviews, for the first time, the information available on Cr(VI) impact on mammalian cell bioenergetics. It aims to provide a framework for the understanding of the role played by bioenergetics in Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis and is also intended as a guide for future research efforts in this area.
Keywords: Hexavalent chromium; Chromate-induced lung cancer; Energy metabolism; Warburg effect; Oxidative stress

Probing the cell death signaling pathway of HepG2 cell line induced by copper-1,10-phenanthroline complex by Jieyuan Wu; Wei Chen; Yan Yin; Zhongliang Zheng; Guolin Zou (445-458).
Copper-1,10-phenanthroline (phen) complex [Cu(phen)2] has been typically known as DNA-cleaving agent. And now it becomes more important for developing multifunctional drugs with its improved cytotoxic properties. In our study, we probed the cytophysiological mechanism of Cu(phen)2. HepG2 cells were more sensitive to Cu(phen)2 with an IC50 of 4.03 μM than other three kinds of cell lines. After treated by Cu(phen)2, HepG2 cells had some typical morphological changes which happened to its nucleus. DNA ladder’s occurence and Annexin V-positive increased cells indicated that Cu(phen)2 induced HepG2 cells into apoptosis. Further studies showed that Cu(phen)2 treatment resulted in significant G2/M phase arrest and collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential. Several cell cycle-related factors were down-regulated, including Cyclin A, Cyclin B1 and Cdc2. But p21 and p53 were up-regulated. DNA damage, microtubule disorganization and mitotic arrest through spindle assembly checkpoint activation were observed in Cu(phen)2-treated cells. The activation of caspase-3, 8 & 9 were checked out. The increased-expression ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 was detected. The expression levels of Bcl-xL and Bid were found to decrease. These meant that a mitochondrial-related apoptosis pathway was activated in treated HepG2 cells. Furthermore, some ER stress-associated signaling factors were found to be up-regulated, such as Grp78, XBP-1and CHOP. Ca2+ was also found to be released from the ER lumen. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that Cu(phen)2 induces apoptosis in HepG2 cells via mitotic arrest and mitochondrial- and ER-stress-related signaling pathways.
Keywords: Cu(phen)2 ; Apoptosis; ER stress; Mitotic arrest

The ruthenium complexes cis-(dichloro)tetramineruthenium(III) chloride and cis-tetraammine(oxalato)ruthenium(III) dithionate overcome resistance inducing apoptosis on human lung carcinoma cells (A549) by Cesar Augusto Sam Tiago Vilanova-Costa; Hellen Karine Paes Porto; Flávia de Castro Pereira; Aliny Pereira de Lima; Wagner Batista dos Santos; Elisângela de Paula Silveira-Lacerda (459-469).
Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, and non-small cell lung carcinoma accounts for approximately 75–85 % of all lung cancers. In the present work, we studied the antitumor activity of the compound cis-(dichloro)tetramineruthenium(III) chloride {cis-[RuCl2(NH3)4]Cl} against human lung carcinoma tumor cell line A549. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between the expression of MDR1 and CYP450 genes in human lung carcinoma cell lines A549 treated with cisCarboPt, cisCRu(III) and cisDRu(III). The ruthenium-based coordinated complexes presented low cytotoxic and antiproliferative activities, with high IC50 values, 196 (±15.49), 472 (±20.29) and 175 (±1.41) for cisCarboPt, cisCRu(III) and cisDRu(III), respectively. The tested compounds induced apoptosis in A549 tumor cells as evidenced by caspase 3 activation, but only at high concentrations. Results also revealed that the amplification of P-gp gene is greater in A549 cells exposed to cisCarboPt and cisCRu(III) than cisDRu(III). Taken together all these results strongly demonstrate that MDR-1 over-expression in A549 cells could be associated to a MDR phenotype of these cells and moreover, it is also contributing to the platinum, and structurally-related compound, resistance in these cells. The identification and characterization of novel mechanisms of drug resistance will enable the development of a new generation of anti-cancer drugs that increase cancer sensitivity and/or represent more effective chemotherapeutic agents.
Keywords: Carboplatin; cis-(Dichloro)tetrammineruthenium(III) chloride; cis-Tetraammine(oxalato)ruthenium(III) dithionate; A549; MDR-1; CYPs

Due to its exemplary resistance to ionising radiation, oxidative stress, desiccation and several DNA damaging agents, Deinococcus radiodurans R1 (DR1) is considered as one of the most appropriate candidates for the bioremediation of the nuclear waste sites. However, the high sensitivity of this bacterium to heavy metals, which are usually preponderant at nuclear waste dump sites, precludes its application for bioremediation. This study deals with the expression two metal binding peptides in DR1 as an attractive strategy for developing metal tolerance in this bacterium. A synthetic gene (EC20) encoding a phytochelatin analogue with twenty repeating units of glutamate and cysteine was constructed by overlap extension and expressed in DR1. The cyanobacterial metallothionein (MT) gene, smtA was cloned for intracellular expression in DR1. Both the genes were expressed under the native groESL promoter. DR1 strain carrying the recombinant EC20 demonstrated 2.5-fold higher tolerance to Cd2+ and accumulated 1.21-fold greater Cd2+ as opposed to the control while the heterologous expression of MT SmtA in DR1 imparted the transformant superior tolerance to Cd2+ amassing 2.5-fold greater Cd2+ than DR1 expressing EC20.
Keywords: Deinococcus radiodurans ; Cadmium tolerance; Synthetic phytochelatin; Metallothionein; Bioaccumulation

Arsenic trioxide induced indirect and direct inhibition of glutathione reductase leads to apoptosis in rat hepatocytes by Atish Ray; Sarmishtha Chatterjee; Sandip Mukherjee; Shelley Bhattacharya (483-494).
Glutathione reductase (GR) is an essential enzyme which maintains the reduced state of a cell. Therefore GR malfunction is closely associated with several disorders related to oxidative damage. The present study reports toxic manifestation of arsenic trioxide in respect of GR leading to apoptosis. Isolated rat hepatocytes exposed to arsenic trioxide were analyzed for GR expression and activity. Arsenic resulted in a time dependent inhibition of GR mediated by the superoxide anion. The cellular demand of functional enzyme is achieved by concomitant rise in gene expression. However, direct inhibition of GR by arsenic trioxide was also evident. Furthermore, arsenic induced free radical mediated inhibition of GR was found to be partially uncompetitive and associated with time dependent decrease in the substrate binding rate. Externalization of phosphatidylserine, nuclear degradation, apoptosis inducing factor leakage, apoptosome formation, caspase activation, DNA damage and break down of PARP suggest consequential induction of apoptosis due to inhibition of GR. The implication of GR was further established from the reduced rate of caspase activation in the arsenic trioxide treated cell, supplemented with complete and incomplete enzyme systems.Glutathione reductase activity is inhibited by binding of arsenic directly with the enzyme and also with the enzyme substrate complex. The mixed or partially uncompetitive mode of inhibition elicits arsenic binding with the GR–GSSG as well as GR–NADPH complex more effectively than with GR alone. Stimulated GR synthesis and gsr expression is concomitant with inhibited enzyme activity, however, reduction in GR efficiency eventually leads to caspase dependent apoptosis.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Glutathione reductase; NAC; Free radical; Nrf2

The bioavailability of different zinc compounds used as human dietary supplements in rat prostate: a comparative study by Andrzej Sapota; Adam Daragó; Małgorzata Skrzypińska-Gawrysiak; Marzenna Nasiadek; Michał Klimczak; Anna Kilanowicz (495-505).
The normal human prostate accumulates the highest levels of zinc (Zn) of any soft tissue in the body. The pool of zinc available to the body is known to significantly decrease with age. It is suggested that dietary Zn supplementation protects against oxidative damage and reduces the risk of cancer. Zinc sulfate and zinc gluconate were the most frequently mentioned in per os administration in studies on Zn supplementation. The major aim of the study was to compare the bioavailability of different Zn compounds (sulfate, gluconate and citrate) in the prostate after their daily administration to male rats at three different doses (3.0; 15.0; and 50.0 mg Zn/kg b.w.) for 30 days. The results show that bioavailability in the prostate differs significantly between individual zinc preparations. A significantly elevated Zn concentration in the dorso-lateral lobe of the prostate, compared to controls, was found in the rats supplemented with two compounds only: zinc gluconate and zinc citrate. However, after administration of zinc gluconate, this effect occurred even at the lowest dose. The lowest zinc bioavailability in the prostate was found in the rats administered zinc sulfate: no significant Zn increase was seen in particular zones of the prostate. To sum up, the use of zinc gluconate is worth considering as a possible means of zinc supplementation in men.
Keywords: Zinc supplementation; Bioavailability; Prostate; Male rats

Carriers for metal complexes on tumour cells: the effect of cyclodextrins vs CNTs on the model guest phenanthroline-5,6-dione trithiacyclononane ruthenium(II) chloride by Susana S. Braga; Joana Marques; Elena Heister; Cátia V. Diogo; Paulo J. Oliveira; Filipe A. Almeida Paz; Teresa M. Santos; Maria Paula M. Marques (507-525).
The complex [Ru[9]aneS3(pdon)Cl]Cl (pdon = 1,10-phenanthroline-5,6-dione) was readily obtained from the stoichiometric reaction of Ru[9]aneS3(dmso)Cl2 with pdon. Recrystallisation in ethanol using salicylic acid as a co-crystallisation helper afforded single-crystals suitable for the collection of X-ray diffraction data which afforded a reasonable structural description. Two different kinds of molecular carriers were tested as vehicles for this complex: carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and cyclodextrins. CNTs had an insufficient loading rate for the ruthenium complex at CNT concentrations deemed non-cytotoxic on cultured cells. The cyclodextrin (CD) carriers, β-CD and TRIMEB (standing for permethylated β-CD), were able to form two adducts, studied by powder X-ray diffraction, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), 13C{1H} CP/MAS NMR and FT-IR spectroscopies. The DNA thermal denaturation studies showed that the complex 1 is able to intercalate with DNA. The in vitro cytotoxicity of the free complex [Ru[9]aneS3(pdon)Cl]Cl (1) and of its two CD adducts (2 and 3) was assessed on both rodent and human cell lines. By using the mouse K1735-M2 melanoma cell line and the non-tumour rat H9c2 cardiomyoblasts, the results showed that 1 and 2 significantly inhibited the growth of the tumour cell line while displaying a good safety profile on cardiomyoblasts. Compound 3 at 100 μM inhibited the proliferation of both cell lines, with a higher activity towards the melanoma cell line. The cytotoxicity of the compounds 13 was further assessed on human breast cancer cell lines. Against the MDA-MB-231 line, growth inhibition occurred only with 1 and 3 at the incubation time of 96 h, both with approximate inhibition rates of 50 %; against the MCF-7 line, mild cytotoxicity was observed at 48 h of incubation, with IC50 values calculated above 100 μM for 1, 2 and 3.
Keywords: Ruthenium complexes; 1,10-Phenanthroline-5,6-dione; Cyclodextrins; Cytotoxicity; Carbon nanotubes

Copper (Cu) is one of the most toxic metals in phytoplankton but the toxicity mechanisms of this metal are still not fully understood. This study examines the toxicity targets of Cu in the modeled marine diatom, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, at the physiological (cell division, DNA cell cycle), biochemical [pigments synthesis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA)], structural (subcellular observation by flow cytometry) and molecular (transcription of several metalloprotein genes) level. Cu toxicity was detectable at all these levels after 48 h of exposure to ≥20 μM total initial added Cu. The order of sensitivity of all the studied Cu toxicity endpoints was: G2/M phase > MDA > metalloproteins RNA of the photosynthetic electron transport chain (ETC) > metalloproteins RNA of the respiratory chains > G0/G1 phase > pigments ≈ S phase > propidium iodide > estimated cell yield > ROS. The relatively sensitive decrease of the transcription of metalloproteins RNA of the ETC in response to Cu exposure, if associated to an effective decrease in the expression of the proteins composing the ETC, may help to initially mitigate the ROS-mediated toxic effects of Cu in P. tricornutum. However, this cellular response to Cu was only transitory and the transcription of virtually all genes involved in redox electron transfer chains was up-regulated within an interval of 2 days. This study brings new insights into the cellular mechanisms of Cu toxicity by documenting the sensitivity and kinetics of multiple Cu-cellular targets in one marine alga.
Keywords: Phaeodactylum tricornutum ; Copper toxicity; Electron transfer chains; Gene transcript

Homeostasis of metals in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by Raúl González-Domínguez; Tamara García-Barrera; José Luis Gómez-Ariza (539-549).
In order to study the involvement of metals in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, serum samples from patients with Alzheimer and mild cognitive impairment were investigated. For this purpose, metal content was analyzed after size-fractionation of species and then, inter-element and inter-fraction ratios were computed. In this way, the analysis allowed discovering changes that could be used as markers of disease, but also provided a new insight into the interactions in the homeostasis of elements in neurodegeneration and its progression. Aluminum and labile forms of iron and copper were increased in demented patients, while manganese, zinc and selenium were reduced. Interestingly, levels of different elements, principally iron, aluminum and manganese, were closely inter-related, which could evidence a complex interdependency between the homeostasis of the different metals in this disorder. On the other hand, imbalances in metabolism of copper, zinc and selenium could be associated to abnormal redox status. Therefore, this study may contribute to our understanding of the pathological mechanisms related to metals in Alzheimer’s disease.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Mild cognitive impairment; Metal homeostasis; Inter-element relations

Copper-dependent inhibition and oxidative inactivation with affinity cleavage of yeast glutathione reductase by Keiko Murakami; Ryoko Tsubouchi; Minoru Fukayama; Masataka Yoshino (551-558).
Effects of copper on the activity and oxidative inactivation of yeast glutathione reductase were analyzed. Glutathione reductase from yeast was inhibited by cupric ion and more potently by cuprous ion. Copper ion inhibited the enzyme noncompetitively with respect to the substrate GSSG and NADPH. The Ki values of the enzyme for Cu2+ and Cu+ ion were determined to be 1 and 0.35 μM, respectively. Copper-dependent inactivation of glutathione reductase was also analyzed. Hydrogen peroxide and copper/ascorbate also caused an inactivation with the cleavage of peptide bond of the enzyme. The inactivation/fragmentation of the enzyme was prevented by addition of catalase, suggesting that hydroxyl radical produced through the cuprous ion-dependent reduction of oxygen is responsible for the inactivation/fragmentation of the enzyme. SDS-PAGE and TOF–MS analysis confirmed eight fragments, which were further determined to result from the cleavage of the Met17-Ser18, Asn20-Thr21, Glu251-Gly252, Ser420-Pro421, Pro421-Thr422 bonds of the enzyme by amino-terminal sequencing analysis. Based on the kinetic analysis and no protective effect of the substrates, GSSG and NADPH on the copper-mediated inactivation/fragmentation of the enzyme, copper binds to the sites apart from the substrate-sites, causing the peptide cleavage by hydroxyl radical. Copper-dependent oxidative inactivation/fragmentation of glutathione reductase can explain the prooxidant properties of copper under the in vivo conditions.
Keywords: Glutathione reductase; Copper; Inhibition; Oxidative inactivation; Peptide cleavage; Hydroxyl radical

Functional analysis of pyochelin-/enantiopyochelin-related genes from a pathogenicity island of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PA14 by Alessandro Maspoli; Nicolas Wenner; Gaëtan L. A. Mislin; Cornelia Reimmann (559-573).
Genomic islands are foreign DNA blocks inserted in so-called regions of genomic plasticity (RGP). Depending on their gene content, they are classified as pathogenicity, symbiosis, metabolic, fitness or resistance islands, although a detailed functional analysis is often lacking. Here we focused on a 34-kb pathogenicity island of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 (PA14GI-6), which is inserted at RGP5 and carries genes related to those for pyochelin/enantiopyochelin biosynthesis. These enantiomeric siderophores of P. aeruginosa and certain strains of Pseudomonas protegens are assembled by a thiotemplate mechanism from salicylate and two molecules of cysteine. The biochemical function of several proteins encoded by PA14GI-6 was investigated by a series of complementation analyses using mutants affected in potential homologs. We found that PA14_54940 codes for a bifunctional salicylate synthase/salicyl-AMP ligase (for generation and activation of salicylate), that PA14_54930 specifies a dihydroaeruginoic acid (Dha) synthetase (for coupling salicylate with a cysteine-derived thiazoline ring), that PA14_54910 produces a type II thioesterase (for quality control), and that PA14_54880 encodes a serine O-acetyltransferase (for increased cysteine availability). The structure of the PA14GI-6-specified metabolite was determined by mass spectrometry, thin-layer chromatography, and HPLC as (R)-Dha, an iron chelator with antibacterial, antifungal and antitumor activity. The conservation of this genomic island in many clinical and environmental P. aeruginosa isolates of different geographical origin suggests that the ability for Dha production may confer a selective advantage to its host.
Keywords: Genomic island; Siderophore; Pseudomonas ; Pyochelin; Dihydroaeruginoic acid

Water-soluble platinum phthalocyanines as potential antitumor agents by Giuseppina Bologna; Paola Lanuti; Primiano D’Ambrosio; Lucia Tonucci; Laura Pierdomenico; Carlo D’Emilio; Nicola Celli; Marco Marchisio; Nicola d’Alessandro; Eugenio Santavenere; Mario Bressan; Sebastiano Miscia (575-589).
Breast cancer represents the second cause of death in the European female population. The lack of specific therapies together with its high invasive potential are the major problems associated to such a tumor. In the last three decades platinum-based drugs have been considered essential constituents of many therapeutic strategies, even though with side effects and frequent generation of drug resistance. These drugs have been the guide for the research, in last years, of novel platinum and ruthenium based compounds, able to overcome these limitations. In this work, ruthenium and platinum based phthalocyanines were synthesized through conventional techniques and their antiproliferative and/or cytotoxic actions were tested. Normal mammary gland (MCF10A) and several models of mammarian carcinoma at different degrees of invasiveness (BT474, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) were used. Cells were treated with different concentrations (5–100 μM) of the above reported compounds, to evaluate toxic concentration and to underline possible dose–response effects. The study included growth curves made by trypan blue exclusion test and scratch assay to study cellular motility and its possible negative modulation by phthalocyanine. Moreover, we investigated cell cycle and apoptosis through flow cytometry and AMNIS Image Stream cytometer. Among all the tested drugs, tetrasulfonated phthalocyanine of platinum resulted to be the molecule with the best cytostatic action on neoplastic cell lines at the concentration of 30 μM. Interestingly, platinum tetrasulfophtalocyanine, at low doses, had no antiproliferative effects on normal cells. Therefore, such platinum complex, appears to be a promising drug for mammarian carcinoma treatment.
Keywords: Breast cancer; Phthalocyanine; Anticancer drug; Platinum; Cell motility

Characterization of Hg-phytochelatins complexes in vines (Vitis vinifera cv Malbec) as defense mechanism against metal stress by Adrian A. Spisso; Soledad Cerutti; Fernanda Silva; Pablo H. Pacheco; Luis D. Martinez (591-599).
An approach to understand vines (Vitis vinifera) defense mechanism against heavy metal stress by isolation and determination of Hg-phytochelatins (PCs) complexes was performed. PCs are important molecules involved in the control of metal concentration in plants. PCs complex toxic metals through −SH groups and stores them inside cells vacuole avoiding any toxic effect of free metals in the cytosol. The Hg-PCs identification was achieved by determination of Hg and S as hetero-tagged atoms. A method involving two-dimensional chromatographic analysis coupled to atomic spectrometry and confirmation by tandem mass spectrometry is proposed. An approach involving size exclusion chromatography coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry on roots, stems, and leaves extracts describing Hg distribution according to molecular weight and sulfur associations is proposed for the first time. Medium–low molecular weight Hg–S associations of 29–100 kDa were found, suggesting PCs presence. A second approach employing reversed-phase chromatography coupled to atomic fluorescence spectrometry analysis allowed the determination of Hg-PCs complexes within the mentioned fractions. Chromatograms showed Hg-PC2, Hg-PC3 and Hg-PC4 presence only in roots. Hg-PCs presence in roots was confirmed by ESI–MS/MS analysis.
Keywords: Vitis vinifera ; Mercury; Phytochelatins; Metal stress

Strontium ranelate stimulates the activity of bone-specific alkaline phosphatase: interaction with Zn2+ and Mg2+ by Juan Manuel Fernández; Maria Silvina Molinuevo; Antonio Desmond McCarthy; Ana Maria Cortizo (601-607).
Strontium ranelate (SR) is an orally administered and bone-targeting anti-osteoporotic agent that increases osteoblast-mediated bone formation while decreasing osteoclastic bone resorption, and thus reduces the risk of vertebral and femoral bone fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Osteoblastic alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is a key enzyme involved in the process of bone formation and osteoid mineralization. In this study we investigated the direct effect of strontium (SR and SrCl2) on the activity of ALP obtained from UMR106 osteosarcoma cells, as well as its possible interactions with the divalent cations Zn2+ and Mg2+. In the presence of Mg2+, both SR and SrCl2 (0.05–0.5 mM) significantly increased ALP activity (15–66 % above basal), and this was dose-dependent in the case of SR. The stimulatory effect of strontium disappeared in the absence of Mg2+. The cofactor Zn2+ also increased ALP activity (an effect that reached a plateau at 2 mM), and co-incubation of 2 mM Zn2+ with 0.05–0.5 mM SR showed an additive effect on ALP activity stimulation. SR induced a dose-dependent decrease in the Km of ALP (and thus an increase in affinity for its substrate) with a maximal effect at 0.1 mM. Co-incubation with 2 mM Zn2+ further decreased Km in all cases. These direct effects of SR on osteoblastic ALP activity could be indicating an alternative mechanism by which this compound may regulate bone matrix mineralization.
Keywords: Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase; Magnesium; Zinc; Strontium ranelate; Osteoblasts