Multiple forms of metallothionein from the digestive gland of naturally occurring and cadmium-exposed mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis
© Springer-Verlag and AWI 2002
Received: 15 August 2001
Accepted: 04 April 2002
Polymorphism of metallothioneins in the digestive gland of naturally occurring (control) and experimentally Cd-exposed mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis (200 µg Cd l–1; 14 days) was studied by applying the conventional methods of Sephadex column liquid chromatography (G-75 and DEAE A-25), and by an electrochemical method (DPASV) for determination of Cd, Zn and Cu concentrations in chromatographic fractions. In both control and Cd-exposed mussels, two distinct molecular mass components of the metallothioneins, monomeric (MT-10) and dimeric (MT-20), were resolved by Sephadex G-75 gel filtration chromatography. In control mussels, the MT-10 component was predominantly expressed as containing markedly higher constitutive levels of Zn (100×) and Cu (10×) than of Cd. Each of these two molecular mass components was further resolved into seven metal-rich peaks by anion-exchange chromatography. In Cd-exposed mussels the larger proportion of Cd was bound to the MT-20 than to the MT-10 component, suggesting that the dimeric component may be considered as a primarily inducible metallothionein. The elution positions of metal-binding maxima of Cd-exposed and control mussels on the respective DEAE chromatographic profiles were comparable. A great similarity in elution positions of Cd maxima between the composite and single-specimen samples was also observed. Our study confirms a high multiplicity of MT forms in mussels from the Mytilus genus not only under the laboratory high-level metal exposure conditions, but also at a natural seawater metal exposure level. The ecotoxicological significance of dimeric and monomeric MT forms, as well as their possible application in the biomonitoring of seawater for trace metals, has been considered.