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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2009 Jul;41(1):69-75. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2008-0409OC. Epub 2008 Dec 18.

Nickel mobilizes intracellular zinc to induce metallothionein in human airway epithelial cells.

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1
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

We recently reported that induction of metallothionein (MT) was critical in limiting nickel (Ni)-induced lung injury in intact mice. Nonetheless, the mechanism by which Ni induces MT expression is unclear. We hypothesized that the ability of Ni to mobilize zinc (Zn) may contribute to such regulation and therefore, we examined the mechanism for Ni-induced MT2A expression in human airway epithelial (BEAS-2B) cells. Ni induced MT2A transcript levels and protein expression by 4 hours. Ni also increased the activity of a metal response element (MRE) promoter luciferase reporter construct, suggesting that Ni induces MRE binding of the metal transcription factor (MTF-1). Exposure to Ni resulted in the nuclear translocation of MTF-1, and Ni failed to induce MT in mouse embryonic fibroblasts lacking MTF-1. As Zn is the only metal known to directly bind MTF-1, we then showed that Ni increased a labile pool of intracellular Zn in cells as revealed by fluorescence-activated cell sorter using the Zn-sensitive fluorophore, FluoZin-3. Ni-induced increases in MT2A mRNA and MRE-luciferase activity were sensitive to the Zn chelator, TPEN, supporting an important role for Zn in mediating the effect of Ni. Although neither the source of labile Zn nor the mechanism by which Ni liberates labile Zn was apparent, it was noteworthy that Ni increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). Although both N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and ascorbic acid (AA) decreased Ni-induced increases in ROS, only NAC prevented Ni-induced increases in MT2A mRNA, suggesting a special role for interactions of Ni, thiols, and Zn release.

PMID:
19097988
PMCID:
PMC2701961
DOI:
10.1165/rcmb.2008-0409OC
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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