BioMetals (v.29, #2)

Significance of the degree of synaptic Zn2+ signaling in cognition by Atsushi Takeda; Haruna Tamano (177-185).
Zinc is a trace nutrient for the brain and a signal factor to serve for brain function. A portion of zinc is released from glutamatergic (zincergic) neuron terminals in the brain. Synaptic Zn2+ signaling is involved in synaptic plasticity such as long-term potentiaion (LTP), which is a cellular mechanism of memory. The block and/or loss of synaptic Zn2+ signaling in the hippocampus and amygdala with Zn2+ chelators affect cognition, while the role of synaptic Zn2+ signal is poorly understood, because zinc-binding proteins are great in number and multi-functional. Chronic zinc deficiency also affects cognition and cognitive decline induced by zinc deficiency might be associated with the increase in plasma glucocorticoid rather than the decrease in synaptic Zn2+ signaling. On the other hand, excess glutamatergic (zincergic) neuron activity induces excess influx of extracellular Zn2+ into hippocampal neurons, followed by cognitive decline. Intracellular Zn2+ dynamics, which is linked to presynaptic glutamate release, is critical for LTP and cognitive performance. This paper deals with insight into cognition from zinc as a nutrient and signal factor.
Keywords: Zinc; Cognition; Signaling; Homeostasis; Zinc deficiency; Hippocampus

Toxicity and tolerance of aluminum in plants: tailoring plants to suit to acid soils by Hemalatha Sade; Balaji Meriga; Varalakshmi Surapu; Jogeswar Gadi; M. S. L. Sunita; Prashanth Suravajhala; P. B. Kavi Kishor (187-210).
Aluminum (Al) stress is one of the serious limiting factors in plant productivity in acidic soils, which constitute about 50 % of the world’s potentially arable lands and causes anywhere between 25 and 80 % of yield losses depending upon the species. The mechanism of Al toxicity and tolerance has been examined in plants, which is vital for crop improvement and enhanced food production in the future. Two mechanisms that facilitate Al tolerance in plants are Al exclusion from the roots and the ability to tolerate Al in the symplast or both. Although efforts have been made to unravel Al-resistant factors, many aspects remain unclear. Certain gene families such as MATE, ALMT, ASR, and ABC transporters have been implicated in some plants for resistance to Al which would enhance the opportunities for creating crop plants suitable to grow in acidic soils. Though QTLs have been identified related to Al-tolerance, no crop plant that is tolerant to Al has been evolved so far using breeding or molecular approaches. The remarkable changes that plants experience at the physiological, biochemical and molecular level under Al stress, the vast array of genes involved in Al toxicity-tolerance, the underlying signaling events and the holistic image of the molecular regulation, and the possibility of creating transgenics for Al tolerance are discussed in this review.
Keywords: Aluminum; Malate; Citrate; Metal chelators; Rhizotoxicity; Organic acids

Ag nanoparticles generated using bio-reduction and -coating cause microbial killing without cell lysis by Aniket Gade; Joshua Adams; David W. Britt; Fen-Ann Shen; Joan E. McLean; Astrid Jacobson; Young-Cheol Kim; Anne J. Anderson (211-223).
Cost-effective “green” methods of producing Ag nanoparticles (NPs) are being examined because of the potential of these NPs as antimicrobials. Ag NPs were generated from Ag ions using extracellular metabolites from a soil-borne Pythium species. The NPs were variable in size, but had one dimension less than 50 nm and were biocoated; aggregation and coating changed with acetone precipitation. They had dose-dependent lethal effects on a soil pseudomonad, Pseudomonas chlororaphis O6, and were about 30-fold more effective than Ag+ ions. A role of reactive oxygen species in cell death was demonstrated by use of fluorescent dyes responsive to superoxide anion and peroxide accumulation. Also mutants of the pseudomonad, defective in enzymes that protect against oxidative stress, were more sensitive than the wild type strain; mutant sensitivity differed between exposure to Ag NPs and Ag+ ions demonstrating a nano-effect. Imaging of bacterial cells treated with the biocoated Ag NPs revealed no cell lysis, but there were changes in surface properties and cell height. These findings support that biocoating the NPs results in limited Ag release and yet they retained potent antimicrobial activity.
Keywords: Ag; Antimicrobial; Biocoating; Green synthesis; Oxidative stress

Incorporation of zinc into the coccoliths of the microalga Emiliania huxleyi by Giulia Santomauro; Wei-Lin Sun; Franz Brümmer; Joachim Bill (225-234).
The coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi is covered with elaborated calcite plates, the so-called coccoliths, which are produced inside the cells. We investigated the incorporation of zinc into the coccoliths of E. huxleyi by applying different zinc and calcium amounts via the culture media and subsequently analyzing the zinc content in the cells and the Zn/Ca ratio of the coccoliths. To investigate the Zn/Ca ratio of coccoliths built in the manipulated media, the algae have first to be decalcified, i.e. coccolith free. We used a newly developed decalcification method to obtain ‘naked’ cells for cultivation. E. huxleyi proliferated and produced new coccoliths in all media with manipulated Zn/Ca ratios. The cells and the newly built coccoliths were investigated regarding their zinc content and their Zn/Ca ratio, respectively. High zinc amounts were taken up by the algae. The Zn/Ca ratio of the coccoliths was positively correlated to the Zn/Ca ratio of the applied media. The unique feature of the coccoliths was maintained also at high Zn/Ca ratios. We suggest the following pathway of the zinc ions into the coccoliths: first, the zinc ions are bound to the cell surface, followed by their transportation into the cytoplasm. Obviously, the zinc ions are removed afterwards into the coccolith vesicle, where the zinc is incorporated into the calcite coccoliths which are then extruded. The incorporation of toxic zinc ions into the coccoliths possibly due to a new function of the coccoliths as detoxification sites is discussed.
Keywords: Zinc; Microalgae; Emiliania huxleyi ; Coccolith; Detoxification

Iron modulates the alpha chain of fibrinogen by Vance G. Nielsen; Wayne K. Jacobsen (235-238).
Iron-bound fibrinogen has been noted to accelerate plasmatic coagulation in patients with divergent conditions involving upregulation of heme oxygenase activity, including hemodialysis, Alzheimer’s disease, sickle cell anemia, and chronic migraine. Our goal was to determine if a site of iron-fibrinogen interaction was on the alpha chain. Using thrombelastography, we compared the coagulation kinetic profiles of plasma exposed to 0–10 µM ferric chloride after activation of coagulation with thrombin generated by contact activation of plasma with the plastic sample cup or by exposure to 1 µg/ml of Calloselasma rhodostoma venom (rich in ancrod activity), which causes coagulation via polymerization of alpha chain monomers. Venom mediated coagulation always occurred before thrombin activated thrombus formation, and ferric chloride always diminished the time of onset of coagulation and increased the velocity of clot growth. Iron enhances plasmatic coagulation kinetics by modulating the alpha chain of fibrinogen.
Keywords: Iron; Fibrinogen; Alpha chain; Ancrod; Thrombelastography

Zinc supplementation ameliorates glycoprotein components and oxidative stress changes in the lung of streptozotocin diabetic rats by Ozlem Sacan; Ismet Burcu Turkyilmaz; Bertan Boran Bayrak; Ozgur Mutlu; Nuriye Akev; Refiye Yanardag (239-248).
Zinc (Zn) is a component of numerous enzymes that function in a wide range of biological process, including growth, development, immunity and intermediary metabolism. Zn may play a role in chronic states such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. Zn acts as cofactor and for many enzymes and proteins and has antioxidant, antiinflammatory and antiapoptotic effects. Taking into consideration that lung is a possible target organ for diabetic complications, the aim of this study was to investigate the protective role of zinc on the glycoprotein content and antioxidant enzyme activities of streptozotocin (STZ) induced diabetic rat tissues. Female Swiss albino rats were divided into four groups. Group I, control; Group II, control + zinc sulfate; Group III, STZ-diabetic; Group IV, diabetic + zinc sulfate. Diabetes was induced by intraperitoneal injection of STZ (65 mg/kg body weight). Zinc sulfate was given daily by gavage at a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight every day for 60 days to groups II and IV. At the last day of the experiment, rats were sacrificed, lung tissues were taken. Also, glycoprotein components, tissue factor (TF) activity, protein carbonyl (PC), advanced oxidative protein products (AOPP), hydroxyproline, and enzyme activities in lung tissues were determined. Glycoprotein components, TF activity, lipid peroxidation, non enzymatic glycation, PC, AOPP, hydroxyl proline, lactate dehydrogenase, catalase, superoxide dismutase, myeloperoxidase, xanthine oxidase, adenosine deaminase and prolidase significantly increased in lung tissues of diabetic rats. Also, glutathione levels, paraoxonase, arylesterase, carbonic anhydrase, and Na+/K+- ATPase activities were decreased. Administration of zinc significantly reversed these effects. Thus, the study indicates that zinc possesses a significantly beneficial effect on the glycoprotein components and oxidant/antioxidant enzyme activities.
Keywords: Zinc; Diabetes mellitus; Lung; Glycoprotein; Oxidative stress

Accumulation of Ag and Cu in Amanita strobiliformis and characterization of its Cu and Ag uptake transporter genes AsCTR2 and AsCTR3 by Vojtěch Beneš; Kateřina Hložková; Michaela Matěnová; Jan Borovička; Pavel Kotrba (249-264).
Macrofungi can accumulate in their sporocarps remarkably high concentrations of Cu and Ag. We have previously demonstrated that the non-essential Ag is in the ectomycorrhizal, Ag-hyperaccumulating Amanita strobiliformis sequestered by 3.4-kDa metallothioneins (MTs) produced as AsMT1a, 1b and 1c isoforms. Here, we describe two populations of wild-grown A. strobiliformis sporocarps, which showed certain correlation between the concentrations of accumulated Ag (284 ± 64 and 67 ± 15 mg kg−1) and Cu (76 ± 13 and 30 ± 12 mg kg−1), suggesting that an overlap may exist in the cell biology of Ag and Cu in this species. Metal speciation analysis revealed that the intracellular Cu in the sporocarps of both populations was, like Ag, associated with the 3.4-kDa MTs. A search of A. strobiliformis transcriptome for sequences encoding proteins of the Cu transporter (CTR) family identified four AsCTR cDNAs, which were, like AsMT1s, confirmed in both populations. The predicted AsCTR proteins showed homology to vacuolar (AsCTR1 and AsCTR4) and plasma membrane (AsCTR2 and AsCTR3) CTRs. Heterologous expression of AsCTR2, AsCTR3 and their translational fusions with green fluorescent protein (GFP) in Cu uptake-deficient S. cerevisiae indicated that both AsCTRs are functional Cu and Ag uptake transporters: recombinant genes complemented growth defects and increased Cu and Ag uptake rates in yeasts and the GFP-tagged protein localized to the cell periphery. Site directed mutagenesis revealed the importance of the conserved-among-CTRs M-X3-M motif for the AsCTR2- and AsCTR3-mediated transport of both Cu and Ag. These results provide the first evidence that fungal CTRs can recognize Ag for transport.
Keywords: Heavy metals; Metal uptake; Metallothionein; Copper transporter protein family; Ectomycorrhizal fungi

Manganese elevates manganese superoxide dismutase protein level through protein kinase C and protein tyrosine kinase by Sufen Li; Lin Lu; Xiudong Liao; Tianquan Gao; Funing Wang; Liyang Zhang; Lin Xi; Songbai Liu; Xugang Luo (265-274).
Three experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of inorganic and organic Mn sources on MnSOD mRNA, protein and enzymatic activity and the possible signal pathways. The primary broiler myocardial cells were treated with MnCl2 (I) or one of organic chelates of Mn and amino acids with weak, moderate (M) or strong (S) chelation strength for 12 and 48 h. Cells were preincubated with superoxide radical anions scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC) or specific inhibitors for MAPKs and protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) or protein kinase C (PKC) for 30 min before treatments of I and M. The MnSOD mRNA, protein and enzymatic activity, phosphorylated MAPKs or protein kinases activations were examined. The results showed that additions of Mn increased (P < 0.05) MnSOD mRNA levels and M was more effective than I. Additions of Mn elevated (P < 0.05) MnSOD protein levels and enzymatic activities, and no differences were found among I and M. Addition of NAC did not decrease (P > 0.05) Mn-induced MnSOD mRNA and protein levels. None of the three MAPKs was phosphorylated (P > 0.05) by Mn. Additions of Mn decreased (P < 0.05) the PTK activities and increased (P < 0.05) the membrane PKC contents. Inhibitors for PTK or PKC decreased (P < 0.05) Mn-induced MnSOD protein levels. The results suggested that Mn-induced MnSOD mRNA and protein expressions be not related with NAC, and MAPK pathways might not involve in Mn-induced MnSOD mRNA expression. PKC and PTK mediated the Mn-induced MnSOD protein expression.
Keywords: Manganese; Manganese superoxide dismutase; Mitogen-activated protein kinases; Protein kinase C; Protein tyrosine kinase; Primary broiler myocardial cell

Interactions fulvate-metal (Zn2+, Cu2+ and Fe2+): theoretical investigation of thermodynamic, structural and spectroscopic properties by Alexandre C. Bertoli; Jerusa S. Garcia; Marcello G. Trevisan; Teodorico C. Ramalho; Matheus P. Freitas (275-285).
The use of theoretical calculation to determine structural properties of fulvate-metal complex (zinc, copper and iron) is here related. The species were proposed in the ratio 1:1 and 2:1 for which the molecular structure was obtained through the semi-empirical method PM6. The calculation of thermodynamic stability ( $$Delta H_{(aq.)}^{0}$$ Δ H ( a q . ) 0 ) predicted that the iron complex were more exo-energetic. Metallic ions were coordinated to the phtalate groups of the model-structure of fulvic acid Suwannee River and the calculations of vibrational frequencies suggested that hydrogen bonds may help on the stability of the complex formation.
Keywords: Metallic complex; Fulvic Acid; Theoretical Calculation; PM6

The zinc transporter ZNT3 co-localizes with insulin in INS-1E pancreatic beta cells and influences cell survival, insulin secretion capacity, and ZNT8 expression by Kamille Smidt; Agnete Larsen; Andreas Brønden; Karen S. Sørensen; Julie V. Nielsen; Jeppe Praetorius; Pia M. Martensen; Jørgen Rungby (287-298).
Zinc trafficking in pancreatic beta cells is tightly regulated by zinc transporting (ZNTs) proteins. The role of different ZNTs in the beta cells is currently being clarified. ZNT8 transports zinc into insulin granules and is critical for a correct insulin crystallization and storage in the granules whereas ZNT3 knockout negatively affects beta cell function and survival. Here, we describe for the first time the sub-cellular localization of ZNT3 by immuno-gold electron microscopy and supplement previous data from knockout experiments with investigations of the effect of ZNT3 in a pancreatic beta cell line, INS-1E overexpressing ZNT3. In INS-1E cells, we found that ZNT3 was abundant in insulin containing granules located close to the plasma membrane. The level of ZNT8 mRNA was significantly decreased upon over-expression of ZNT3 at different glucose concentrations (5, 11 and 21 mM glucose). ZNT3 over-expression decreased insulin content and insulin secretion whereas ZNT3 over-expression improved the cell survival after 24 h at varying glucose concentrations (5, 11 and 21 mM). Our data suggest that ZNT3 and ZNT8 (known to regulate insulin secretion) have opposite effects on insulin synthesis and secretion possibly by a transcriptional co-regulation since mRNA expression of ZNT3 was inversely correlated to ZNT8 and ZNT3 over-expression reduced insulin synthesis and secretion in INS-1E cells. ZNT3 over-expression improved cell survival.
Keywords: ZNT3; SLC30A3; ZNT8; Localization; Insulin secretion; Beta cell survival

This study was conducted to investigate the mechanism of action involved in the anti-cancer activity of daidzein and identification of cancer specific micro-environment as therapeutic target of this secondary metabolite derived from soy. Our data indicated that daidzein induces cellular DNA breakage, anti-proliferative effects and apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. We demonstrated that such a daidzein-induced anti-cancer action involves a copper-dependant pathway in which endogenous copper is mobilized by daidzein and redox-cycled to generate reactive oxygen species which act as an upstream signal leading to pro-oxidant cell death. Further in the context of hypoxia being a resistant factor against standard therapies and that an effect secondary to hypoxia is the intracellular acidification, we show that the anticancer activity of daidzein is modulated positively in acidic pH but copper-specific chelator is still able to inhibit daidzein activity. Moreover, an experimental setup of hypoxia mimic (cobalt chloride) revealed an enhanced sensitivity of cancer cells to the cytotoxic effects of daidzein which was neutralized in the presence of neocuproine. The findings support a paradigm shift from the conventional antioxidant property of dietary isoflavones to molecules capable of initiating a pro-oxidant signaling mediated by reactive oxygen species. Further, the clinical relevance of such an action mechanism in cancer chemoprevention is also proposed. This study identified endogenous copper as a molecular target and acidic pH as a modulating factor for the therapeutic activity of daidzein against cancer. The evidence presented highlights the potential of dietary agents as adjuvants to standard therapeutic regimens.
Keywords: Chemoprevention; Cancer; Daidzein; Hypoxia; Cell death; DNA breakage

Bismuth(III) deferiprone effectively inhibits growth of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ATCC 27774 by Larry L. Barton; Daniel A. Lyle; Nathaniel L. Ritz; Alex S. Granat; Ali N. Khurshid; Nada Kherbik; Robert Hider; Henry C. Lin (311-319).
Sulfate-reducing bacteria have been implicated in inflammatory bowel diseases and ulcerative colitis in humans and there is an interest in inhibiting the growth of these sulfide-producing bacteria. This research explores the use of several chelators of bismuth to determine the most effective chelator to inhibit the growth of sulfate-reducing bacteria. For our studies, Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ATCC 27774 was grown with nitrate as the electron acceptor and chelated bismuth compounds were added to test for inhibition of growth. Varying levels of inhibition were attributed to bismuth chelated with subsalicylate or citrate but the most effective inhibition of growth by D. desulfuricans was with bismuth chelated by deferiprone, 3-hydroxy-1,2-dimethyl-4(1H)-pyridone. Growth of D. desulfuricans was inhibited by 10 μM bismuth as deferiprone:bismuth with either nitrate or sulfate respiration. Our studies indicate deferiprone:bismuth has bacteriostatic activity on D. desulfuricans because the inhibition can be reversed following exposure to 1 mM bismuth for 1 h at 32 °C. We suggest that deferiprone is an appropriate chelator for bismuth to control growth of sulfate-reducing bacteria because deferiprone is relatively nontoxic to animals, including humans, and has been used for many years to bind Fe(III) in the treatment of β-thalassemia.
Keywords: Deferiprone; Bismuth citrate; Bismuth salicylate; Sulfate-reducing bacteria; Bismuth salts

Polysaccharide-based silver nanoparticles synthesized by Klebsiella oxytoca DSM 29614 cause DNA fragmentation in E. coli cells by Franco Baldi; Salvatore Daniele; Michele Gallo; Stefano Paganelli; Dario Battistel; Oreste Piccolo; Claudia Faleri; Anna Maria Puglia; Giuseppe Gallo (321-331).
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), embedded into a specific exopolysaccharide (EPS), were produced by Klebsiella oxytoca DSM 29614 by adding AgNO3 to the cultures during exponential growth phase. In particular, under aerobic or anaerobic conditions, two types of silver nanoparticles, named AgNPs-EPSaer and the AgNPs-EPSanaer, were produced respectively. The effects on bacterial cells was demonstrated by using Escherichia coli K12 and Kocuria rhizophila ATCC 9341 (ex Micrococcus luteus) as Gram-negative and Gram-positive tester strains, respectively. The best antimicrobial activity was observed for AgNPs-EPSaer, in terms of minimum inhibitory concentrations and minimum bactericidal concentrations. Observations by transmission electron microscopy showed that the cell morphology of both tester strains changed during the exposition to AgNPs-EPSaer. In particular, an electron-dense wrapped filament was observed in E. coli cytoplasm after 3 h of AgNPs-EPSaer exposition, apparently due to silver accumulation in DNA, and both E. coli and K. rhizophila cells were lysed after 18 h of exposure to AgNPs-EPSaer. The DNA breakage in E. coli cells was confirmed by the comparison of 3-D fluorescence spectra fingerprints of DNA. Finally the accumulation of silver on DNA of E. coli was confirmed directly by a significant Ag+ release from DNA, using the scanning electrochemical microscopy and the voltammetric determinations.
Keywords: Antimicrobial activity; Cell lysis; Silver exopolysaccharide nanoparticles; Silver in DNA; Silver release

HmuS and HmuQ of Ensifer/Sinorhizobium meliloti degrade heme in vitro and participate in heme metabolism in vivo by Vanesa Amarelle; Federico Rosconi; Juan Manuel Lázaro-Martínez; Graciela Buldain; Francisco Noya; Mark R. O’Brian; Elena Fabiano (333-347).
Ensifer meliloti is a nitrogen-fixing symbiont of the alfalfa legume able to use heme as an iron source. The transport mechanism involved in heme acquisition in E. meliloti has been identified and characterized, but the fate of heme once inside the cell is not known. In silico analysis of E. meliloti 1021 genome revealed no canonical heme oxygenases although two genes encoding putative heme degrading enzymes, smc01518 and hmuS, were identified. SMc01518 is similar to HmuQ of Bradyrhizobium japonicum, which is weakly homologous to the Staphylococcus aureus IsdG heme-degrading monooxygenase, whereas HmuS is homolog to Pseudomonas aeruginosa PhuS, a protein reported as a heme chaperone and as a heme degrading enzyme. Recombinant HmuQ and HmuS were able to bind hemin with a 1:1 stoichiometry and displayed a Kd value of 5 and 4 µM, respectively. HmuS degrades heme in vitro to the biliverdin isomers IX-β and IX-δ in an equimolar ratio. The HmuQ recombinant protein degrades heme to biliverdin IX-δ only. Additionally, in this work we demonstrate that humS and hmuQ gene expression is regulated by iron and heme in a RirA dependent manner and that both proteins are involved in heme metabolism in E. meliloti in vivo.
Keywords: Rhizobia; Heme-oxygenase; Iron metabolism; Heme; E. meliloti ; Heme-degradation

Russula atropurpurea can accumulate remarkably high concentrations of Zn in its sporocarps. We have previously demonstrated that 40 % of the intracellular Zn in this species is sequestered by MT-like RaZBP peptides. To see what other mechanisms for the handling of the accumulated Zn are available to R. atropurpurea, we searched its transcriptome for cDNAs coding for transporters of the cation diffusion facilitator (CDF) family. The transcriptome search enabled us to identify RaCDF1 and RaCDF2, which were further subjected to functional studies in metal sensitive Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The expression of RaCDF1 and its translational fusion with green fluorescent protein (GFP) protected the yeasts against Zn and Co, but not Cd or Mn, toxicity and led to increased Zn accumulation in the cells. The GFP fluorescence, observed in the RaCDF1::GFP-expressing yeasts on tonoplasts, indicated that the RaCDF1-mediated Zn and Co tolerance was a result of vacuolar sequestration of the metals. The expression of RaCDF2 supported Zn, but not Mn, tolerance in the yeasts and reduced the cellular uptake of Zn, which is congruent with the proposed idea of the Zn-efflux function of RaCDF2, supported by the localization of GFP-derived fluorescence on the plasma membrane of the yeasts expressing functional RaCDF2::GFP. Contrarily, RaCDF2 increased the sensitivity to Co and Cd in the yeasts and significantly promoted Cd uptake, which suggested that it can act as a bidirectional metal transporter. The notion that RaCDF1 and RaCDF2 are genuine CDF transporters in R. atropurputrea was further reinforced by the fact that the RaCDF-associated metal tolerance and uptake phenotypes were lost upon the replacement of histidyl (in RaCDF1) and aspartyl (in RaCDF2), which are highly conserved in the second transmembrane domain and known to be essential for the function of CDF proteins.
Keywords: Russula atropurpurea ; Metal tolerance; Zinc transport; Cation diffusion facilitator (CDF) family; Ectomycorrhizal fungi