The Application of Curve Fitting on the Voltammograms of Various Isoforms of Metallothioneins–Metal Complexes
Metallothioneins (MTs) are metal-chelating peptides that play an active role in zinc homeostasis. The participation of metal ligands other than cysteines and the presence of secondary structure elements in metal-MT complexes are fairly unknown, especially in nonvertebrate MTs. Here, four Zn(II) complexes of invertebrate MTs (mollusc, insect, nematode, and echinoderm) and the Zn(II)-MT complex of the mammalian MT1 isoform, heterologously synthesized in E. coli, were studied by analytic and spectroscopic techniques. By Raman and circular dichroism spectroscopy, new structural informations were obtained. The five analyzed MT isoforms consist largely of beta-turns with the near exclusion of alpha-helical segments. Raman spectroscopy was revealed as an useful tool, providing information about the state of the cysteine sulfur atoms (metal coordinated and oxidized), the participation of histidine in metal coordination, and the molecular environment of tyrosine residues. In all the five Zn(II)-MT studied samples, acid-labile sulfide anions were found as nonproteic ligands, since sulfide-containing and sulfide-devoid species coexisted in the corresponding preparations. Significantly, Raman bands useful as markers of sulfide bridging ligands were identified. Overall, this work illustrates how the combination of analytical and spectroscopic techniques can be a very informative approach for the analysis of in vivo-synthesized metal-MT complexes, providing new data on the metal binding behavior of MTs from the most diverse organisms.