Metals on the move: zinc ions in cellular regulation and in the coordination dynamics of zinc proteins.
ABSTRACT Homeostatic control maintains essential transition metal ions at characteristic cellular concentrations to support their physiological functions and to avoid adverse effects. Zinc is especially widely used as a catalytic or structural cofactor in about 3000 human zinc proteins. In addition, the homeostatic control of zinc in eukaryotic cells permits functions of zinc(II) ions in regulation and in paracrine and intracrine signaling. Zinc ions are released from proteins through ligand-centered reactions in zinc/thiolate coordination environments, and from stores in cellular organelles, where zinc transporters participate in zinc loading and release. Muffling reactions allow zinc ions to serve as signaling ions (second messengers) in the cytosol that is buffered to picomolar zinc ion concentrations at steady-state. Muffling includes zinc ion binding to metallothioneins, cellular translocations of metallothioneins, delivery of zinc ions to transporter proteins, and zinc ion fluxes through cellular membranes with the result of removing the additional zinc ions from the cytosol and restoring the steady-state. Targets of regulatory zinc ions are proteins with sites for transient zinc binding, such as membrane receptors, enzymes, protein-protein interactions, and sensor proteins that control gene expression. The generation, transmission, targets, and termination of zinc ion signals involve proteins that use coordination dynamics in the inner and outer ligand spheres to control metal ion association and dissociation. These new findings establish critically important functions of zinc ions and zinc metalloproteins in cellular control.
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ABSTRACT: Protein metal-coordination sites are richly varied and exquisitely attuned to their inorganic partners, yet many metalloproteins still select the wrong metals when presented with mixtures of elements. Cells have evolved elaborate mechanisms to scavenge for sufficient metal atoms to meet their needs and to adjust their needs to match supply. Metal sensors, transporters and stores have often been discovered as metal-resistance determinants, but it is emerging that they perform a broader role in microbial physiology: they allow cells to overcome inadequate protein metal affinities to populate large numbers of metalloproteins with the right metals.Nature Reviews Microbiology 02/2009; 7(1):25-35. · 22.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although Zn2+ is contained in large amounts in the synaptic terminals of hippocampal mossy fibers (MFs), its physiological role in synaptic transmission is poorly understood. By using the newly developed high-sensitivity Zn2+ indicator ZnAF-2, the spatiotemporal dynamics of Zn2+ was monitored in rat hippocampal slices. When high-frequency stimulation was delivered to the MFs, the concentration of extracellular Zn2+ was immediately elevated in the stratum lucidum, followed by a mild increase in the stratum radiatum adjacent to the stratum lucidum, but not in the distal area of stratum radiatum. The Zn2+ increase was insensitive to a non-N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist but was efficiently attenuated by tetrodotoxin or Ca2+-free medium, suggesting that Zn2+ is released by MF synaptic terminals in an activity-dependent manner, and thereafter diffuses extracellularly into the neighboring stratum radiatum. Electrophysiological analyses revealed that NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic responses in CA3 proximal stratum radiatum were inhibited in the immediate aftermath of MF activation and that this inhibition was no longer observed in the presence of a Zn2+-chelating agent. Thus, Zn2+ serves as a spatiotemporal mediator in imprinting the history of MF activity in contiguous hippocampal networks. We predict herein a novel form of metaplasticity, i.e., an experience-dependent non-Hebbian modulation of synaptic plasticity.The Journal of Cell Biology 08/2002; 158(2):215-20. · 10.82 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A major obstacle that hampers the design of drug therapy for traumatic brain injury is the incomplete understanding of the biochemical pathways that lead to secondary cellular injury and contribute to cell death. One such pathway involves reactive species that generate potentially cytotoxic zinc ion fluctuations as a major executor of neuronal, and possibly glial, cell death. Whether zinc ions released during traumatic brain injury are toxic or protective is controversial but can be approached by investigating the exact concentrations of free zinc ions, the thresholds of compromised zinc buffering capacity, and the mechanism of cellular homeostatic control of zinc. Rapidly stretch-injured rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells express cellular zinc ion fluctuations that depend on the production of nitric oxide. Chelation of cellular zinc ions after rapid stretch injury, however, increases cellular reactive oxygen species. In a rat model of traumatic brain injury, parasagittal fluid percussion, analysis of the metal load of metallothionein was used as an indicator of changes in cellular zinc ion concentrations. The combined results from the cellular and in vivo investigations caution against interpreting zinc ion fluctuations in the early phase (24h) after injury as a primarily cytotoxic event.Brain research 03/2010; 1330:131-41. · 2.46 Impact Factor