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Chemistry and biology of mammalian metallothioneins


Vašák, M; Meloni, G (2011). Chemistry and biology of mammalian metallothioneins. Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 16(7):1067-1078.

Abstract

Metallothioneins (MTs) are a class of ubiquitously occurring low molecular mass, cysteine- and metal-rich proteins containing sulfur-based metal clusters formed with Zn(II), Cd(II), and Cu(I) ions. In mammals, four distinct MT isoforms designated MT-1 through MT-4 exist. The first discovered MT-1/MT-2 are widely expressed isoforms, whose biosynthesis is inducible by a wide range of stimuli, including metals, drugs, and inflammatory mediators. In contrast, MT-3 and MT-4 are noninducible proteins, with their expression primarily confined to the central nervous system and certain squamous epithelia, respectively. MT-1 through MT-3 have been reported to be secreted, suggesting that they may play different biological roles in the intracellular and extracellular space. Recent reports established that these isoforms play an important protective role in brain injury and metal-linked neurodegenerative diseases. In the postgenomic era, it is becoming increasingly clear that MTs fulfill multiple functions, including the involvement in zinc and copper homeostasis, protection against heavy metal toxicity, and oxidative damage. All mammalian MTs are monomeric proteins, containing two metal-thiolate clusters. In this review, after a brief summary of the historical milestones of the MT-1/MT-2 research, the recent advances in the structure, chemistry, and biological function of MT-3 and MT-4 are discussed.

Abstract

Metallothioneins (MTs) are a class of ubiquitously occurring low molecular mass, cysteine- and metal-rich proteins containing sulfur-based metal clusters formed with Zn(II), Cd(II), and Cu(I) ions. In mammals, four distinct MT isoforms designated MT-1 through MT-4 exist. The first discovered MT-1/MT-2 are widely expressed isoforms, whose biosynthesis is inducible by a wide range of stimuli, including metals, drugs, and inflammatory mediators. In contrast, MT-3 and MT-4 are noninducible proteins, with their expression primarily confined to the central nervous system and certain squamous epithelia, respectively. MT-1 through MT-3 have been reported to be secreted, suggesting that they may play different biological roles in the intracellular and extracellular space. Recent reports established that these isoforms play an important protective role in brain injury and metal-linked neurodegenerative diseases. In the postgenomic era, it is becoming increasingly clear that MTs fulfill multiple functions, including the involvement in zinc and copper homeostasis, protection against heavy metal toxicity, and oxidative damage. All mammalian MTs are monomeric proteins, containing two metal-thiolate clusters. In this review, after a brief summary of the historical milestones of the MT-1/MT-2 research, the recent advances in the structure, chemistry, and biological function of MT-3 and MT-4 are discussed.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Biochemistry
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Biochemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:12 Oct 2011 16:49
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 09:13
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0949-8257
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00775-011-0799-2
PubMed ID:21647776

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