Spectroscopic studies of copper and silver binding to metallothioneins.

Research paper by M J MJ Stillman

Indexed on: 14 May '08Published on: 14 May '08Published in: Metal-based drugs


MAMMALIAN METALLOTHIONEIN IS REMARKABLE IN ITS METAL BINDING PROPERTIES: well-characterized species exist for metal to sulfur ratios of M(7)S(20), M(12)S(20), and M(18)S(20), where M = Cd(ll), Zn(ll), Hg(ll), Ag(I), Au(I), and Cu(I). Circular dichroism and luminescence spectra provide rich details of a complicated metal binding chemistry when metals are added directly to the metal free- or zinc-containing protein. CD spectral data unambiguously identify key metal to protein stoichiometric ratios that result in well-defined structures. Emission spectra in the 450-750 nm region have been reported for metallothioneins containing Ag(I), Au(I), and Cu(I). The luminescence of Cu-MT can also be detected directly from mammalian and yeast cells. Qualitative and quantitative interpretations show that the final structure adopted by Ag-MT is not the same as that formed by Cu(I) ions in Cu-MT. XAFS structural data are reported for a number of metallothioneins, including Ag(12)-MT and Ag(17)-MT. Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry provides details on the species formed when Ag(I) binds to metallothionein. Mass spectral data are reported for metal-free MT 2A and Ag(n)-MT (n = 14-18).