BioMetals (v.29, #1)

Metal and metalloid containing natural products and a brief overview of their applications in biology, biotechnology and biomedicine by Daniel A. Dias; Konstantinos A. Kouremenos; David J. Beale; Damien L. Callahan; Oliver A. H. Jones (1-13).
Bioinorganic natural product chemistry is a relatively unexplored but rapidly developing field with enormous potential for applications in biology, biotechnology (especially in regards to nanomaterial development, synthesis and environmental cleanup) and biomedicine. In this review the occurrence of metals and metalloids in natural products and their synthetic derivatives are reviewed. A broad overview of the area is provided followed by a discussion on the more common metals and metalloids found in natural sources, and an overview of the requirements for future research. Special attention is given to metal hyperaccumulating plants and their use in chemical synthesis and bioremediation, as well as the potential uses of metals and metalloids as therapeutic agents. The potential future applications and development in the field are also discussed.
Keywords: Natural products; Metals; Bacteria; Fungi; Hyper accumulators; Therapeutic agents

Serum ferritin levels are relatively low (<1 µg/ml) and serum ferritin generally disappears rapidly from the circulation (t 1/2 < 10 min). There are various mammalian ferritin-binding proteins (FBPs) in the blood. Ferritin is cleared by direct uptake by ferritin receptors and by indirect receptor-mediated uptake of FBP complexed with ferritin. Mammalian ferritin binds both heme and iron, and binding occurs through two mechanisms: direct binding with ferritin to H-kininogen and anti-ferritin autoantibody, and indirect heme-mediated binding of fibrinogen and apolipoprotein B to ferritin. Anti-ferritin autoantibody and fibrinogen are proposed to be common mammalian FBPs, as is α2-macroglobulin. FBP-ferritin binding may affect blood coagulation and influence iron metabolism, oxidative condition, angiogenesis, inflammatory condition and immune response. Aside from apolipoprotein B, FBPs bind zinc ion to form antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. The possible simultaneous uptake of zinc ion with FBP-ferritin complex is likely to attenuate iron- and/or heme-mediated oxidative damage and inflammatory response.
Keywords: Ferritin; Ferritin-binding protein; Iron; Oxidative stress; Zinc

Evidence of cell surface iron speciation of acidophilic iron-oxidizing microorganisms in indirect bioleaching process by Zhen-yuan Nie; Hong-chang Liu; Jin-lan Xia; Yi Yang; Xiang-jun Zhen; Li-juan Zhang; Guan-zhou Qiu (25-37).
While indirect model has been widely accepted in bioleaching, but the evidence of cell surface iron speciation has not been reported. In the present work the iron speciation on the cell surfaces of four typically acidophilic iron-oxidizing microorganism (mesophilic Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans ATCC 23270, moderately thermophilic Leptospirillum ferriphilum YSK and Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans St, and extremely thermophilic Acidianus manzaensis YN25) grown on different energy substrates (chalcopyrite, pyrite, ferrous sulfate and elemental sulfur (S0)) were studied in situ firstly by using synchrotron-based micro- X-ray fluorescence analysis and X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy. Results showed that the cells grown on iron-containing substrates had apparently higher surface iron content than the cells grown on S0. Both ferrous iron and ferric iron were detected on the cell surface of all tested AIOMs, and the Fe(II)/Fe(III) ratios of the same microorganism were affected by different energy substrates. The iron distribution and bonding state of single cell of A. manzaensis were then studied in situ by scanning transmission soft X-ray microscopy based on dual-energy contrast analysis and stack analysis. Results showed that the iron species distributed evenly on the cell surface and bonded with amino, carboxyl and hydroxyl groups.
Keywords: Synchrotron radiation; Iron-oxidizing microorganism; Iron speciation; In situ; Bioleaching

Copper(II) complexes with naringenin and hesperetin: cytotoxic activity against A 549 human lung adenocarcinoma cells and investigation on the mode of action by Lenka V. Tamayo; Ligiane R. Gouvea; Anna C. Sousa; Ronniel M. Albuquerque; Sarah Fernandes Teixeira; Ricardo Alexandre de Azevedo; Sonia R. W. Louro; Adilson Kleber Ferreira; Heloisa Beraldo (39-52).
Copper(II) complexes [Cu(H 2 O) 2 (L1)(phen)](ClO 4 ) (1) and [Cu(H 2 O)(L2)(phen)](ClO 4 ) (2) (HL1 = naringenin; HL2 = hesperetin) were obtained, in which an anionic flavonoid ligand is attached to the metal center along with 1,10-phenanthroline (phen) as co-ligand. Complexes (1) and (2) were assayed for their cytotoxic activity against A549 lung carcinoma and against normal lung fibroblasts (LL-24) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). We found IC50 = 16.42 µM (1) and IC50 = 5.82 µM (2) against A549 tumor cells. Complexes (1) and (2) exhibited slight specificity, being more cytotoxic against malignant than against non-malignant cells. 1 and 2 induced apoptosis on A549 cells in a mitochondria-independent pathway, and showed antioxidant activity. The antioxidant effect of the complexes could possibly improve their apoptotic action, most likely by a PI3K-independent reduction of autophagy. Complexes (1) and (2) interact in vitro with calf thymus DNA by an intercalative binding mode. EPR data indicated that 1 and 2 interact with human serum albumin (HSA) forming mixed ligand species.
Keywords: Naringenin; Hesperetin; Copper(II) complexes; Cytotoxic activity; Mode of action

Pyoverdines (PVD) are a group of siderophores produced by fluorescent Pseudomonads. Identification of PVD variants mostly relies on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) using collision-induced dissociation (CID). Here, both CID and the novel dissociation technique electron-capture dissociation (ECD) were applied to characterize PVD succinamide and its Fe(III)-chelated complex. The results clearly showed that ECD produced diagnostic side chain fragmentation of the PVD peptide chain and preserved the labile Fe(III) binding to the chromophore in contrast to CID. The ECD technique is therefore expected to support the understanding of strain-specific Fe(III) transport processes of PVDs.
Keywords: Pyoverdine; Siderophores; Iron binding; FTICR-MS; Electron-capture dissociation; ECD

Calcium ions (Ca2+) are indispensable for life and are involved in important physiological actions, which makes maintaining a constant level of blood Ca2+ essential. Ca2+ is mainly stored in bones which serve as a reservoir and its homeostasis is modulated by various hormones. Human calcitonin (hCt) is a small peptide hormone that exerts its physiological effect on Ca2+ metabolism by means of osteoclast-mediated bone resorption inhibition. Most of these actions are mediated through peptide/receptor interaction that acts via a second messenger. However, in vitro studies have shown that hCt can interact with membrane lipids to form ion channels in membrane models. This ability is due to the peptide’s secondary structure and aggregation state, that can be modulated by different molecules. In our study, we evaluated the effect of Ca2+, at different concentrations, both on the hCt ion channel incorporated into a planar lipid membrane made up of phosphatidylcholine containing 15 % phosphatidylglycerol and on the secondary structure of hCt in an aqueous environment. Ca2+ is able to interact with the hCt peptide by acting on the channel incorporated into the membrane as well as on the peptide in solution, both by increasing hCt channel frequency and in solution promoting α-helix formation, that counteracts the fibrillating process. These experimental observations, suggesting that hCt senses Ca2+ concentration variations, strengthen the hypothesis that channel formation represents an extra source of Ca2+ entry into osteoclasts in addition to the well-known interaction of the monomer with the specific receptor.
Keywords: Calcium; Human calcitonin; Fibrillating peptides; Ion channel; Membranes

Metal concentrations in hair of patients with various head and neck cancers as a diagnostic aid by Anna Wozniak; Marta Napierala; Magdalena Golasik; Małgorzata Herman; Stanisław Walas; Wojciech Piekoszewski; Witold Szyfter; Krzysztof Szyfter; Wojciech Golusinski; Danuta Baralkiewicz; Ewa Florek (81-93).
Head and neck cancers are one of the most frequent cancers worldwide. This paper attempts to evaluate disturbances of homeostasis of the necessary elements (calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese) and changes in the levels of toxic metals (lead, cadmium, cobalt, chromium VI) in hair of patients with head and neck cancers, as well as people without a diagnosed neoplastic disease. In order to quantify the necessary elements and toxic metals, a method using ICP-MS and ICP-OES techniques had been developed and validated. The studies have shown that patients with head and neck cancer used to drink alcohol and smoked much more frequently than healthy individuals, both in the past and presently. Statistically significant differences in concentrations of average metal content in the group of patients with head and neck cancers compared to the control group were confirmed. Significant differences in metal content between the group of patients with head and neck cancers and healthy individuals were found which enabled distinguishing between the study groups. To this end, a more advanced statistical tool, i.e. chemometrics, was used. The conducted research analyses and the use of advanced statistical techniques confirm the benefits of using alternative material to distinguish the patients with head and neck cancers from the healthy individuals.
Keywords: Head and neck cancers; Stimulants; Hair; Necessary elements; Toxic metals

Aspects of manganese metabolism during normal and acidogenic growth of Aspergillus niger were explored. Arginase from this fungus was a Mn[II]-enzyme. The contribution of the arginase protein towards A. niger manganese metabolism was investigated using arginase knockout (D-42) and arginase over-expressing (ΔXCA-29) strains of A. niger NCIM 565. The Mn[II] contents of various mycelial fractions were found in the order: D-42 strain < parent strain < ΔXCA-29 strain. While the soluble fraction forms 60 % of the total mycelial Mn[II] content, arginase accounted for a significant fraction of this soluble Mn[II] pool. Changes in the arginase levels affected the absolute mycelial Mn[II] content but not its distribution in the various mycelial fractions. The A. niger mycelia harvested from acidogenic growth media contain substantially less Mn[II] as compared to those from normal growth media. Nevertheless, acidogenic mycelia harbor considerable Mn[II] levels and a functional arginase. Altered levels of mycelial arginase protein did not significantly influence citric acid production. The relevance of arginase to cellular Mn[II] pool and homeostasis was evaluated and the results suggest that arginase regulation could occur via manganese availability.
Keywords: Aspergillus niger ; Arginase; Manganese metabolism; Acidogenic growth

Exceptions in patterns of arsenic compounds in urine of acute promyelocytic leukaemia patients treated with As2O3 by Zdenka Šlejkovec; Helena Podgornik; Peter Černelč; Ingrid Falnoga (107-118).
Arsenic trioxide (As(III) in solution) has been shown to be the most active single agent in combating acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). It is metabolized and excreted via urine as monomethylarsonic acid (MMA), dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) and As(V), along with excess As(III). In our study eight APL patients were treated (intravenously) with 0.15 mg As2O3/kg/day. During the therapy As(III) and its metabolites were followed in pre- and post-infusion urine using HPLC for separation followed by on-line detection using hydride generation-atomic fluorescence spectrometry. Five patients had a normal excretion pattern of residual arsenic compounds in morning pre-infusion urine, with 15–25 % of As(III), 35–55 % of DMA, 25–30 % of MMA and 1–5 % of As(V), while three patients showed unexpected exceptions from typical excretion patterns of arsenic compounds (i) a high DMA/MMA ratio (factor 5.3), (ii) severe As(III) oxidation (10.2 % As(III) converted to As(V)) or (iii) the presence of an excessive amount of As(III) (average 30.4 % of total arsenic). Intriguing was the occurrence of post-infusion oxidation of As(III) to As(V) observed in almost all patients and being especially high (>40 %) in patient with increased residual As(V). Results indicate that arsenic metabolites patterns can be unpredictable. Observed high levels of un-metabolised As(III) are a warning signal for side effects and for routine determination of arsenic metabolites during first days of treatment. High or low percentages of MMA or DMA did not show any observable effect on treatment results, while clear presence of post-infusion As(V) supports theoretical claims of in vivo oxidation (detoxification) of As(III) to As(V) associated with various metabolic processes.
Keywords: Arsenic trioxide; Acute promyelocytic leukemia; Metabolites; Urine; Speciation; Biotransformation

Sub-chronic iron overload triggers oxidative stress development in rat brain: implications for cell protection by Natacha E. Piloni; Juan C. Perazzo; Virginia Fernandez; Luis A. Videla; Susana Puntarulo (119-130).
This work was aimed to test the hypothesis that sub-chronic administration of iron-dextran (Fe-dextran) (six doses of 50 mg Fe-dextran/kg) to rats triggers a transient oxidative stress in brain and mechanisms of cellular antioxidant defence. After 2 h of administration of the 6th dose, a significant increase of total Fe, the labile Fe pool (LIP), the lipid radical (LR)/α-tocopherol (α-T) content ratio were observed, as compared to values in control brain homogenates. The ascorbyl radical (A)/ascorbate (AH) content ratio and the oxidation rate of 2′,7′-dichlorodihidrofluorescein (DCFH-DA) were significantly higher in Fe-dextran treated rats, as compared to values in brain from control rats after 4 h treatment. An increase in both catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was observed at 8 and 1–2 h, respectively. No significant changes were detected in the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) levels in nuclear extracts from rat brains after 1–8 h of Fe-dextran administration. After 2 h of Fe administration Fe concentration in cortex, striatum and hippocampus was significantly increased as compared to the same areas from control animals. Both, CAT and SOD activities were significantly increased in cortex after Fe administration over control values, without changes in striatum and hippocampus. Taken as a whole, sub-chronic Fe administration enhances the steady state concentration of Fe in the brain LIP that favors the settlement of an initial oxidative stress condition, both at hydrophilic and lipophilic compartments, resulting in cellular protection evidenced by antioxidant enzyme upregulation.
Keywords: Brain; Oxidative stress; Iron; NF-κB; Catalase; Superoxide dismutase

Evaluation of cystatin C as an early biomarker of cadmium nephrotoxicity in the rat by Walter C. Prozialeck; Aaron VanDreel; Christopher D. Ackerman; Ian Stock; Alexander Papaeliou; Christian Yasmine; Kristen Wilson; Peter C. Lamar; Victoria L. Sears; Joshua Z. Gasiorowski; Karyn M. DiNovo; Vishal S. Vaidya; Joshua R. Edwards (131-146).
Cadmium (Cd) is a nephrotoxic environmental pollutant that causes insidious injury to the proximal tubule that results in severe polyuria and proteinuria. Cystatin C is a low molecular weight protein that is being evaluated as a serum and urinary biomarker for various types of ischemic and nephrotoxic renal injury. The objective of the present study was to determine if cystatin C might be a useful early biomarker of Cd nephrotoxicity. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were given daily injections of Cd for up to 12 weeks. At 3, 6, 9 and 12 weeks, urine samples were analyzed for cystatin C, protein, creatinine, β2 microglobulin and kidney injury molecule-1. The results showed that Cd caused a significant increase in the urinary excretion of cystatin C that occurred 3–4 weeks before the onset of polyuria and proteinuria. Serum levels of cystatin C were not altered by Cd. Immunolabeling studies showed that Cd caused the relocalization of cystatin C from the cytoplasm to the apical surface of the epithelial cells of the proximal tubule. The Cd-induced changes in cystatin C labelling paralleled those of the brush border transport protein, megalin, which has been implicated as a mediator of cystatin C uptake in the proximal tubule. These results indicate that Cd increases the urinary excretion of cystatin C, and they suggest that this effect may involve disruption of megalin-mediated uptake of cystatin C by epithelial cells of the proximal tubule.
Keywords: Cadmium; Biomarkers; Cystatin C; Nephrotoxicity; Proximal tubule

Distribution of manganese and other biometals in flatiron mice by Young Ah Seo; Jamal A. Elkhader; Marianne Wessling-Resnick (147-155).
Flatiron (ffe) mice display features of “ferroportin disease” or Type IV hereditary hemochromatosis. While it is known that both Fe and Mn metabolism are impaired in flatiron mice, the effects of ferroportin (Fpn) deficiency on physiological distribution of these and other biometals is unknown. We hypothesized that Fe, Mn, Zn and/or Cu distribution would be altered in ffe/+ compared to wild-type (+/+) mice. ICP-MS analysis showed that Mn, Zn and Cu levels were significantly reduced in femurs from ffe/+ mice. Bone deposits reflect metal accumulation, therefore these data indicate that Mn, Zn and Cu metabolism are affected by Fpn deficiency. The observations that muscle Cu, lung Mn, and kidney Cu and Zn levels were reduced in ffe/+ mice support the idea that metal metabolism is impaired. While all four biometals appeared to accumulate in brains of flatiron mice, significant gender effects were observed for Mn and Zn levels in male ffe/+ mice. Metals were higher in olfactory bulbs of ffe/+ mice regardless of gender. To further study brain metal distribution, 54MnCl2 was administered by intravenous injection and total brain 54Mn was measured over time. At 72 h, 54Mn was significantly greater in brains of ffe/+ mice compared to +/+ mice while blood 54Mn was cleared to the same levels by 24 h. Taken together, these results indicate that Fpn deficiency decreases Mn trafficking out of the brain, alters body Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu levels, and promotes metal accumulation in olfactory bulbs.
Keywords: Flatiron mice; Ferroportin; Slc40a1; Manganese; Iron; Copper; Zinc

Improved cytotoxicity of pyridyl-substituted thiosemicarbazones against MCF-7 when used as metal ionophores by Fady N. Akladios; Scott D. Andrew; Christopher J. Parkinson (157-170).
Zinc is the second most abundant transition metal in the human body, between 3 and 10 % of human genes encoding for zinc binding proteins. We have investigated the interplay of reactive oxygen species and zinc homeostasis on the cytotoxicity of the thiosemicarbazone chelators against the MCF-7 cell line. The cytotoxicity of thiosemicarbazone chelators against MCF-7 can be improved through supplementation of ionic zinc provided the zinc ion is at a level exceeding the thiosemicarbazone concentration. Elimination of the entire cell population can be accomplished with this regime, unlike the plateau of cytotoxicity observed on thiosemicarbazone monotherapy. The cytotoxic effects of copper complexes of the thiosemicarbazone are not enhanced by zinc supplementation, displacement of copper from the complex being disfavoured. Treatment of MCF-7 with uncomplexed thiosemicarbazone initiates post G1 blockade alongside the induction of apoptosis, cell death being abrogated through subsequent supplementation with zinc ion after drug removal. This would implicate a metal depletion mechanism in the cytotoxic effect of the un-coordinated thiosemicarbazone. The metal complexes of the species, however, fail to initiate similar G1 blockade and apparently exert their cytotoxic effect through generation of reactive oxygen species, suggesting that multiple mechanisms of cytotoxicity can be associated with the thiosemicarbazones dependant on the level of metal ion association.
Keywords: Copper; Zinc; Cytotoxicity; Reactive oxygen species (ROS); Thiosemicarbazone

Exposure to environmental mercury has been proposed to play a part in autism. Mercury is selectively taken up by the human locus ceruleus, a region of the brain that has been implicated in autism. We therefore looked for the presence of mercury in the locus ceruleus of people who had autism, using the histochemical technique of autometallography which can detect nanogram amounts of mercury in tissues. In addition, we sought evidence of damage to locus ceruleus neurons in autism by immunostaining for hyperphosphorylated tau. No mercury was found in any neurons of the locus ceruleus of 6 individuals with autism (5 male, 1 female, age range 16–48 years). Mercury was present in locus ceruleus neurons in 7 of 11 (64 %) age-matched control individuals who did not have autism, which is significantly more than in individuals with autism. No increase in numbers of locus ceruleus neurons containing hyperphosphorylated tau was detected in people with autism. In conclusion, most people with autism have not been exposed early in life to quantities of mercury large enough to be found later in adult locus ceruleus neurons. Human locus ceruleus neurons are sensitive indicators of mercury exposure, and mercury appears to remain in these neurons indefinitely, so these findings do not support the hypothesis that mercury neurotoxicity plays a role in autism.
Keywords: Autism; Mercury; Locus ceruleus; Locus coeruleus; Toxicant; Heavy metal