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Arch Toxicol. 1990;64(8):639-43.

Interaction of methylmercury compounds with albumin.

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Biochemistry Section, National Institute for Minamata Disease, Kumamoto, Japan.


The nature of interaction between bovine serum albumin (BSA) and methylmercurial compounds has been investigated by ultrafiltration analysis. Four types of BSA samples, mercaptalbumin, its mixed disulfides with glutathione (GSH) and L-cysteine (CySH), and S-carbamidomethylated derivative, were used for binding assays with methylmercury (MM) chloride (MMC) and three kinds of MM mercaptides of low molecular weight thiols, GSH (GS-MM), CySH (CyS-MM) and cysteinylglycine (CG-MM). Among various ligands tested, MMC showed the highest affinity for all BSA species, and the BSA-bound fraction of the ligand did not change with ligand/protein ratio. MMC strongly and stoichiometrically bound to mercaptalbumin even at a molar ratio of 1:1. In contrast, the albumin bound fractions of three other MM ligands increased with concomitant decrease in ligand/protein ratio and with time except for the alkylated albumin, the highest binding being shown by mercaptalbumin. Binding of S-2-nitrophenyl-glutathione, a GSH analog with a hydrophobic S-substituent, to albumin species occurred similarly to that of GS-MM. However, GSH and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) interacted differently with albumin; mercaptalbumin showed the lowest affinity for GSH, and GSSG scarcely interacted with all BSA species. These results suggest that the sulfhydryl group at Cys-34 is not the only site of BSA that interacts with MM compounds and that albumin interacts preferentially with the hydrophobic domains of a mercurial ligand rather than its hydrophilic peptide moiety.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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