Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 253–264 | Cite as

Metallothionein-like proteins and zinc-copper interaction in the hindgut of Porcellio scaber (crustacea: Isopoda) exposed to zinc

  • N. Žnidarŝiĉ
  • M. Tuŝek-Žnidariĉ
  • I. Falnoga
  • J. Ŝĉanĉar
  • J. Ŝtrus
Original Articles


Metallothioneins (MTs) are ubiquitous low-molecular-weight metalbinding proteins, with a variety of functions in metal metabolism ascribed to them. Among terrestrial invertebrates, MTs have been studied in nematodes, insects, snails, and earthworms. The aim of this study was the characterization of MT-like proteins in the terrestrial isopod crustacean Porcellio scaber in order to analyze their probable role in the metaboliss of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn). Dietary Zn supplementation (793 μg Zn/g dry food, 6 d) was applied to stimulate MT synthesis. After separation of the hindgut postmicrosomic supernatant (cytosol) of Zn-exposed animals by gel filtration on a Sephadex G-75 column, a Cu- and Zn-containing peak was detected in the position of V c/Vo≈2, where MTs are expected to elute. Rechromatography of these fractions by size-exclusion chromatography-high-performance liquid chromatography revealed that the 215-nm absorbance peak coincided with the absorbance peak of the rabbit MT II standard. These low-molecular-weight Cu- and Zn-binding compounds, detected in the cytosol of the hindgut cells in Zn-exposed P. scaber. are considered to be Cu, Zn-MT-like proteins. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the characterization of MT-like proteins in isopod crustaceans. These results also indicate that both Zn and Cu dynamics in P. scaber hindgut are affected at the given dietary Zn supplementation and that MT-like proteins are involved in this Zn-Cu interaction.

Index Entries

Metallothionein copper zinc Porcellio scaber hindgut digestive system Crustacea 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Žnidarŝiĉ
    • 1
  • M. Tuŝek-Žnidariĉ
    • 1
    • 2
  • I. Falnoga
    • 2
  • J. Ŝĉanĉar
    • 2
  • J. Ŝtrus
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesJ. Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia

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