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Neurotoxicology. 2000 Dec;21(6):1045-55.

Effects of lead on gene expression.

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Department of Neurology, Kennedy Krieger Research Institute, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Lead poisoning is a worldwide, environmental health-hazard that affects children and adults. In this review we discuss the effects of lead on gene expression due to both general and specific mechanisms. In particular we focus on the ability of lead to substitute for biologically essential metals such as calcium and zinc in metal-binding domains of cytoplasmic enzymes, nuclear transcription factors and other proteins. The binding of lead to these proteins causes an alteration of their activity resulting in aberrant expression of their own genes and in some cases their target genes. Finally, we discuss the impact of microarray technology on the study of the genome-wide effects of lead and other toxicants on gene expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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