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    Metallothionein (MT) protein families are a class of small and universal proteins rich in cysteine residues. They are synthesized in response to heavy metal stresses to sequester the toxic ions by metal-thiolate bridges. Five MT family members, namely MtnA, MtnB, MtnC, MtnD and MtnE, have been discovered and identified in Drosophila. These five isoforms of MTs are regulated by metal responsive transcription factor dMTF-1 and play differentiated but overlapping roles in detoxification of metal ions. Previous researches have shown that Drosophila MtnB responds to copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn). Interestingly in this study we found that Drosophila MtnB expression also responds to elevated iron levels in the diet. Further investigations revealed that MtnB plays limited roles in iron detoxification, and the direct binding of MtnB to ferrous iron in vitro is also weak. The induction of MtnB by iron turns out to be mediated by iron interference of other metals, because EDTA at even a partial concentration of that of iron can suppress this induction. Indeed, in the presence of iron, zinc homeostasis is altered, as reflected by expression changes of zinc transporters dZIP1 and dZnT1. Thus, iron-mediated MtnB induction appears resulting from interrupted homeostasis of other metals such as zinc, which in turns induced MtnB expression. Metal-metal interaction may more widely exist than we expected. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Wenjia Qiang, Yunpeng Huang, Zhihui Wan, Bing Zhou. Metal-metal interaction mediates the iron induction of Drosophila MtnB. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2017 Jun 03;487(3):646-652

    PMID: 28435068

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