BioMetals (v.30, #2)

Zinc’s role in the glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review by Gabrielli Barbosa de Carvalho; Paula Nascimento Brandão-Lima; Carla Soraya Costa Maia; Kiriaque Barra Ferreira Barbosa; Liliane Viana Pires (151-162).
Past research has shown the importance of zinc in several metabolic processes, such as the glucidic metabolism. The present systematic review aims to discuss zinc’s participation in the glycemic control of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) patients. In order to accomplish that, a systematic search was performed in the Pubmed database using the following indexed and theme-related descriptors: “zinc” AND “type 2 diabetes mellitus”, AND MeSH terms related to glycemic control combined with the boolean operator OR. In total, 1078 articles were retrieved from the research, of which 15 articles of original studies conducted with DM2 patients were included, with three being about the effect of mineral supplementation and 12 reporting observational studies. The main findings of these studies consisted of low body contents of zinc and high excretion of zinc in urine. Hyperglycemia was one of the mechanisms that caused these alterations owing to its interference in zinc reabsorption via renal cells. Another evidence was the negative correlation between the glycated hemoglobin percentage (%HbA1c) and the plasma zinc levels. Additionally, it has been observed that zinc supplementation in DM2 patients has improved glycemic control, since the %HbA1c significantly reduced in these individuals. This present review shows the positive effect of adequate zinc levels on glycemic control, whether it is through dietetic ingestion or supplementation, since its role in insulin homeostasis is clear.
Keywords: Zinc; Glycemic control; Diabetes; Insulin

Biocompatibility of NiTi alloys in the cell behaviour by Jana Sevcikova; Monika Pavkova Goldbergova (163-169).
Metallic biomaterial alloys composed of nickel and titanium have unique thermal shape memory, superelastic, and high damping properties, which are widely used in the medicine. The major parameter evaluated in the studies regarding the behaviour of the material in the contact with organism or cells is biocompatibility. The aim of the studies is to clarify the differences in the proliferation, growth, and morphology especially in the cell cultures. The cytotoxicity is affected among other by release of the metal ions in the presence of the metal alloy, which is further dependent on the possible treatments of the material and the corrosive properties. To evaluate the cytotoxicity, wide range of tests including the Sulforhodamine B assay and MTT tests, expression profiles, cell survival tests such as apoptotic test are used. The review compares the cell behaviour in contact with the material alloys composed of nickel and titanium with respect to different materials composition and different surface treatment that affects the ion release. Even though the results published so far are controversial, almost all data suggest sufficient biocompatibility in medical use.
Keywords: Alloy; Biomaterial; NiTi; Cell; Biocompatibility

Phenotypic and biochemical alterations in relation to MT2 gene expression in Plantago ovata Forsk under zinc stress by Paulami Pramanick; Anindita Chakraborty; Sarmistha Sen Raychaudhuri (171-184).
Plantago ovata Forsk is an annual herb with immense medicinal importance, the seed and husk of which is used in the treatment of chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea since ancient times. Zinc, an essential metal, is required by plants as they form important components of zinc finger proteins and also aid in synthesis of photosynthetic pigments such as chlorophyll. However, in excess amount Zn causes chlorosis of leaf and shoot tissues and generate reactive oxygen species. The present study is aimed at investigating the changes in expression levels of MT2 gene in Plantago ovata under zinc stress. Data show up to 1.66 fold increase in expression of PoMT2 in 1000 µM ZnSO4·7H2O treated sample. Our study also describes alteration of MT2 gene expressions in Plantago ovata as observed through Real time PCR (qPCR) done by $$2^{{ - Delta Delta}} C_T$$ 2 - Δ Δ C T method. In this study we have observed an upregulation (or induction) in the PoMT2 gene expression level in 500 and 800 µM ZnSO4·7H2O treated samples but found saturation on further increasing the dose to 1000 µM of ZnSO4·7H2O. Determination of the phenotypic and biochemical changes in Plantago ovata due to exposure to zinc stress of concentrations 500, 800 and 1000 µM revealed oxidative stress. The enhanced expression of MT2 gene in Plantago ovata has a correlation with the increased total antioxidant activity and increased DPPH radical scavenging activity.
Keywords: Metallothionein; Zinc; Antioxidant; Plantago ovata ; Oxidative stress

Silicon (Si) is a nonessential, beneficial micronutrient for plants. It increases the plant stress tolerance in relation to its accumulation capacity. In this work, root Si transporter genes were characterized in 17 different plants and inferred for their Si-accumulation status. A total of 62 Si transporter genes (31 Lsi1 and 31 Lsi2) were identified in studied plants. Lsi1s were 261–324 residues protein with a MIP family domain whereas Lsi2s were 472–547 residues with a citrate transporter family domain. Lsi1s possessed characteristic sequence features that can be employed as benchmark in prediction of Si-accumulation status/capacity of the plants. Silicic acid selectivity in Lsi1s was associated with two highly conserved NPA (Asn-Pro-Ala) motifs and a Gly-Ser-Gly-Arg (GSGR) ar/R filter. Two NPA regions were present in all Lsi1 members but some Ala substituted with Ser or Val. GSGR filter was only available in the proposed high and moderate Si accumulators. In phylogeny, Lsi1s formed three clusters as low, moderate and high Si accumulators based on tree topology and availability of GSGR filter. Low-accumulators contained filters WIGR, AIGR, FAAR, WVAR and AVAR, high-accumulators only with GSGR filter, and moderate-accumulators mostly with GSGR but some with A/CSGR filters. A positive correlation was also available between sequence homology and Si-accumulation status of the tested plants. Thus, availability of GSGR selectivity filter and sequence homology degree could be used as signatures in prediction of Si-accumulation status in experimentally uncharacterized plants. Moreover, interaction partner and expression profile analyses implicated the involvement of Si transporters in plant stress tolerance.
Keywords: ar/R Selectivity filter; Accumulator; Silicic acid; Motifs; Perturbation

IutB participates in the ferric-vulnibactin utilization system in Vibrio vulnificus M2799 by Hiroaki Kawano; Katsushiro Miyamoto; Miho Negoro; Eriko Zushi; Takahiro Tsuchiya; Tomotaka Tanabe; Tatsuya Funahashi; Hiroshi Tsujibo (203-216).
Vibrio vulnificus, an opportunistic pathogen that causes a serious, often fatal, infection in humans, requires iron for its growth. This bacterium utilizes iron from the environment via the vulnibactin-mediated iron uptake system. The mechanisms of vulnibactin biosynthesis, vulnibactin export, and ferric-vulnibactin uptake systems have been reported, whereas the ferric-vulnibactin reduction mechanism in the cell remains unclear. The results of our previous study showed that VuuB, a member of the flavin adenine dinucleotide-containing siderophore-interacting protein family, is a ferric-vulnibactin reductase, but there are other reductases that can complement for the defective vuuB. The aim of this study was to identify these proteins that can complement the loss of function of VuuB. We constructed mutants of genes encoding putative reductases in V. vulnificus M2799, and analyzed their growth under low-iron conditions. Complementation analyses confirmed that IutB, which functions as a ferric-aerobactin reductase, participates in ferric-vulnibactin reduction in the absence of VuuB. This is the first genetic evidence that ferric-vulnibactin is reduced by a member of the ferric-siderophore reductase protein family. In the aerobactin-utilization system, IutB plays a major role in ferric-aerobactin reduction in V. vulnificus M2799, and VuuB and DesB can compensate for the defect of IutB. Furthermore, the expression of iutB and desB was found to be regulated by iron and a ferric uptake regulator.
Keywords: Clinical isolate; Siderophore; Siderophore-interacting protein; Ferric-siderophore reductase; Aerobactin; Desferrioxamine B

Metal transport process in plants is a determinant of quality and quantity of the harvest. Although it is among the most important of staple crops, knowledge about genes that encode for membrane-bound metal transporters is scarce in wheat. Metal tolerance proteins (MTPs) are involved in trace metal homeostasis at the sub-cellular level, usually by providing metal efflux out of the cytosol. Here, by using various bioinformatics approaches, genes that encode for MTPs in the hexaploid wheat genome (Triticum aestivum, abbreviated as Ta) were identified and characterized. Based on the comparison with known rice MTPs, the wheat genome contained 20 MTP sequences; named as TaMTP1–8A, B and D. All TaMTPs contained a cation diffusion facilitator (CDF) family domain and most members harbored a zinc transporter dimerization domain. Based on motif, phylogeny and alignment analysis, A, B and D genomes of TaMTP3–7 sequences demonstrated higher homology compared to TaMTP1, 2 and 8. With reference to their rice orthologs, TaMTP1s and TaMTP8s belonged to Zn-CDFs, TaMTP2s to Fe/Zn-CDFs and TaMTP3–7s to Mn-CDFs. Upstream regions of TaMTP genes included diverse cis-regulatory motifs, indicating regulation by developmental stage, tissue type and stresses. A scan of the coding sequences of 20 TaMTPs against published miRNAs predicted a total of 14 potential miRNAs, mainly targeting the members of most diverged groups. Expression analysis showed that several TaMTPs were temporally and spatially regulated during the developmental time-course. In grains, MTPs were preferentially expressed in the aleurone layer, which is known as a reservoir for high concentrations of iron and zinc. The work identified and characterized metal tolerance proteins in common wheat and revealed a potential involvement of MTPs in providing a sink for trace element storage in wheat grains.
Keywords: CDF; Micronutrient; Aleurone; Deficiency; Biofortification

Prebiotic effects of bovine lactoferrin on specific probiotic bacteria by Po-Wen Chen; Zhen-Shu Liu; Tai-Chen Kuo; Min-Chi Hsieh; Zhe-Wei Li (237-248).
Bovine lactoferrin (bLf) is a natural iron-binding protein and it has been suggested to be a prebiotic agent, but this finding remains inconclusive. This study explores the prebiotic potential of bLf in 14 probiotics. Initially, bLf (1–32 mg/mL) treatment showed occasional and slight prebiotic activity in several probiotics only during the late experimental period (48, 78 h) at 37 °C. We subsequently supposed that bLf exerts stronger prebiotic effects when probiotic growth has been temperately retarded. Therefore, we incubated the probiotics at different temperatures, namely 37 °C, 28 °C, room temperature (approximately 22–24 °C), and 22 °C, to retard or inhibit their growth. As expected, bLf showed more favorable prebiotic activity in several probiotics when their growth was partially retarded at room temperature. Furthermore, at 22 °C, the growth of Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus coryniformis, L. delbrueckii, L. acidophilus, B. angulatum, B. catenulatum, and L. paraplantarum were completely blocked. Notably, these probiotics started regrowing in the presence of bLf (1–32 mg/mL) in a significant and dose-dependent manner. Accordingly, bLf significantly increased the growth of Pediococcus pentosaceus, L. rhamnosus, and L. paracasei (BCRC 17483; a locally isolated strain) when their growth was retarded by incubation at 22 °C. In conclusion, bLf showed inconsistent prebiotic activity in the 14 probiotics at 37 °C, but revealed strong prebiotic activity in 10 probiotic strains at 22 °C. Therefore, this study enables determining additional roles of Lf in probiotic strains, which can facilitate developing novel combinational approaches by simultaneously using Lf and specific probiotics.
Keywords: Lactoferrin; Probiotic; Prebiotic; Lactic acid bacterium; Bifidobacterium

Phytochelatins (PCs), the heavy metal-binding peptides of plants, play a main function in heavy metal detoxification. In this study, Enhalus acoroides samples collected at six distinct seagrass beds from the coast of Khanh Hoa province, Viet Nam, were evaluated for their PCs. The contents of different PCs in each organ including leaf, rhizome, and root were determined by using HPLC analysis. Significant differences of PC2 contents among specific organs and their relation were tested by ANOVA, Tukey test, and Pearson’s correlation. The results showed that higher PC2, appearance of PC3 and a strong correlation between PC2 and Pb concentration were found in the root organ collected from a Pb contaminated area. We conclude that high Pb in the sediment induce high PC2 and PC3 production in the root. This first report on in situ detection of PCs of seagrass encourages future investigation on the ability to use seagrass for phytoremediation and as a bioindicator of heavy metals based on PC contents.
Keywords: Correlation; Enhalus acoroides ; Lead; Phytochelatins; Seagrasses

Characterization and cytotoxic effect of aqua-(2,2′,2′′-nitrilotriacetato)-oxo-vanadium salts on human osteosarcoma cells by Aleksandra Tesmar; Dariusz Wyrzykowski; Rafał Kruszyński; Karolina Niska; Iwona Inkielewicz-Stępniak; Joanna Drzeżdżon; Dagmara Jacewicz; Lech Chmurzyński (261-275).
The use of protonated N-heterocyclic compound, i.e. 2,2′-bipyridinium cation, [bpyH+], enabled to obtain the new nitrilotriacetate oxidovanadium(IV) salt of the stoichiometry [bpyH][VO(nta)(H2O)]H2O. The X-ray measurements have revealed that the compound comprises the discrete mononuclear [VO(nta)(H2O)] coordination ion that can be rarely found among other known compounds containing nitrilotriacetate oxidovanadium(IV) moieties. The antitumor activity of [bpyH][VO(nta)(H2O)]H2O and its phenanthroline analogue, [phenH][VO(nta)(H2O)](H2O)0.5, towards human osteosarcoma cell lines (MG-63 and HOS) has been assessed (the LDH and BrdU tests) and referred to cis-Pt(NH3)2Cl2 (used as a positive control). The compounds exert a stronger cytotoxic effect on MG-63 and HOS cells than in untransformed human osteoblast cell line. Thus, the [VO(nta)(H2O)] containing coordination compounds can be considered as possible antitumor agents in the osteosarcoma model of bone-related cells in culture.
Keywords: Vanadium; Osteosarcoma cells; Antitumor activity; Crystal structure; Potentiometric titration

Increased mercury emissions from modern dental amalgams by Ulf G. Bengtsson; Lars D. Hylander (277-283).
All types of dental amalgams contain mercury, which partly is emitted as mercury vapor. All types of dental amalgams corrode after being placed in the oral cavity. Modern high copper amalgams exhibit two new traits of increased instability. Firstly, when subjected to wear/polishing, droplets rich in mercury are formed on the surface, showing that mercury is not being strongly bonded to the base or alloy metals. Secondly, high copper amalgams emit substantially larger amounts of mercury vapor than the low copper amalgams used before the 1970s. High copper amalgams has been developed with focus on mechanical strength and corrosion resistance, but has been sub-optimized in other aspects, resulting in increased instability and higher emission of mercury vapor. This has not been presented to policy makers and scientists. Both low and high copper amalgams undergo a transformation process for several years after placement, resulting in a substantial reduction in mercury content, but there exist no limit for maximum allowed emission of mercury from dental amalgams. These modern high copper amalgams are nowadays totally dominating the European, US and other markets, resulting in significant emissions of mercury, not considered when judging their suitability for dental restoration.
Keywords: Mercury; Non-gamma-two; Non-ɣ2; Copper amalgam

Amyloid β (Aβ) fibrils and amorphous aggregates are found in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and are implicated in the etiology of AD. The metal imbalance is also among leading causes of AD, owing to the fact that Aβ aggregation takes place in the synaptic cleft where Aβ, Cu(II) and Fe(III) are found in abnormally high concentrations. Aβ40 and Aβ42 are the main components of plaques found in afflicted brains. Coordination of Cu(II) and Fe(III) ions to Aβ peptides have been linked to Aβ aggregation and production of reactive oxygen species, two key events in the development of AD pathology. Metal chelation was proposed as a therapy for AD on the basis that it might prevent Aβ aggregation. In this work, we first examined the formation of Aβ40 and Aβ42 aggregates in the presence of metal ions, i.e. Fe(III) and Cu(II), which were detected by fluorescence spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy. Second, we studied the ability of the two chelators, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and 5-chloro-7-iodo-8-hydroxyquinoline (clioquinol), to investigate their effect on the availability of these metal ions to interact with Aβ and thereby their effect on Aβ accumulation. Our findings show that Fe(III), but not Cu(II), promote aggregation of both Aβ40 and Aβ42. We also found that only clioquinol decreased significantly iron ion-induced aggregation of Aβ42. The presence of ions and/or chelators also affected the morphology of Aβ aggregates.
Keywords: β amyloid peptide; Cu(II) ion; Fe(III) ion; Clioquinol; EDTA

Neutron activation increases activity of ruthenium-based complexes and induces cell death in glioma cells independent of p53 tumor suppressor gene by Aline Monezi Montel; Raquel Gouvêa dos Santos; Pryscila Rodrigues da Costa; Elisângela de Paula Silveira-Lacerda; Alzir Azevedo Batista; Wagner Gouvêa dos Santos (295-305).
Novel metal complexes have received great attention in the last decades due to their potential anticancer activity. Notably, ruthenium-based complexes have emerged as good alternative to the currently used platinum-based drugs for cancer therapy, providing less toxicity and side effects to patients. Glioblastoma is an aggressive and invasive type of brain tumor and despite of advances is the field of neurooncology there is no effective treatment until now. Therefore, we sought to investigate the potential antiproliferative activity of phosphine-ruthenium-based complexes on human glioblastoma cell lines. Due to its octahedral structure as opposed to the square-planar geometry of platinum(II) compounds, ruthenium(II) complexes exhibit different structure–function relationship probably acting through a different mechanism from that of cisplatin beyond their ability to bind DNA. To better improve the pharmacological activity of metal complexes we hypothesized that neutron activation of ruthenium in the complexes would allow to decrease the effective concentration of the compound needed to kill tumor cells. Herein we report on the effect of unmodified and neutron activated phosphine ruthenium II complexes on glioblastoma cell lines carrying wild-type and mutated p53 tumor suppressor gene. Induction of apoptosis/authophagy as well as generation of reactive oxygen species were determined. The phosphine ruthenium II complexes tested were highly active against glioblastoma cell lines inducing cell death both through apoptosis and autophagy in a p53 independent fashion. Neutron activation of ruthenium compounds rendered them more active than their original counterparts suggesting a new strategy to improve the antitumor activity of these compounds.
Keywords: Glioblastoma; Brain tumor; Ruthenium(II); Metal complex; Radiotherapy

Bacterial resistance to arsenic protects against protist killing by Xiuli Hao; Xuanji Li; Chandan Pal; Jon Hobman; D. G. Joakim Larsson; Quaiser Saquib; Hend A. Alwathnani; Barry P. Rosen; Yong-Guan Zhu; Christopher Rensing (307-311).
Protists kill their bacterial prey using toxic metals such as copper. Here we hypothesize that the metalloid arsenic has a similar role. To test this hypothesis, we examined intracellular survival of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum (D. discoideum). Deletion of the E. coli ars operon led to significantly lower intracellular survival compared to wild type E. coli. This suggests that protists use arsenic to poison bacterial cells in the phagosome, similar to their use of copper. In response to copper and arsenic poisoning by protists, there is selection for acquisition of arsenic and copper resistance genes in the bacterial prey to avoid killing. In agreement with this hypothesis, both copper and arsenic resistance determinants are widespread in many bacterial taxa and environments, and they are often found together on plasmids. A role for heavy metals and arsenic in the ancient predator–prey relationship between protists and bacteria could explain the widespread presence of metal resistance determinants in pristine environments.
Keywords: Protist; Grazing; Arsenic

Gold compounds as cysteine protease inhibitors: perspectives for pharmaceutical application as antiparasitic agents by Lara Massai; Luigi Messori; Nicola Micale; Tanja Schirmeister; Louis Maes; Dolores Fregona; Maria Agostina Cinellu; Chiara Gabbiani (313-320).
Gold compounds form a new class of promising metal-based drugs with a number of potential therapeutic applications, particularly in the fields of anticancer and antimicrobial treatments. Previous research revealed that a group of structurally diverse gold compounds cause conspicuous inhibition of the protease activities of the human proteasome. Given the pharmacological importance of protease inhibition, the present study further explored whether these gold compounds might inhibit a few other proteases that are accepted druggable targets for disease treatment. In particular, four distinct cysteine proteases were considered here: cathepsin B and L that play a primary role in tumor-cell invasion and metastasis; rhodesain, the major cathepsin L-like cysteine protease of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and CPB2.8ΔCTE, a Leishmania mexicana mature cysteine protease. Based on the encouraging results obtained for some of the tested gold compounds on the two parasitic cysteine proteases, especially against CPB2.8ΔCTE, with IC50s in the micromolar range, we next evaluated whether those gold compounds might contrast effectively the growth of the respective protozoa and indeed important antiprotozoal properties were disclosed; on the other hand a certain lack of selectivity was highlighted. Also, no direct or clear correlation could be established between the in vitro antiprotozoal properties and the level of protease inhibition. The implications of these results are discussed in relation to possible pharmaceutical applications.
Keywords: Gold compounds; Parasitic protozoa; Cysteine proteases; Enzyme inhibition