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Pharmaceutical importance of zinc and metallothionein in cell signalling

PETR BABULA1, VERONIKA KOHOUTKOVA1, RADKA OPATRILOVA2, IVANA DANKOVA1, MICHAL MASARIK3, RENE KIZEK4*
*Corresponding author
1. University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Natural Drugs
Faculty of Pharmacy, Palackeho 1-3, Brno, CZ-612 42, Czech Republic
2. University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Chemical Drugs
Faculty of Pharmacy, Palackeho 1-3, Brno, CZ-612 42, Czech Republic
3. Masaryk University, Department of Pathological Physiology, Faculty of Medicine
Kamenice 753/5, Brno, CZ-625 00 Czech Republic
4. Mendel University in Brno, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Agronomy
Zemedelska 1, Brno, CZ-613 00, Czech Republic

Abstract

Zinc as an essential element plays the crucialrole in many physiological, but also pathological processes- zinc controls cell proliferation, differentiation, and viabilityincluding the apoptosis. These facts are especially basedon the structural role of zinc ions in many proteins includingthe transcription factors. Due to the role of zinc in manycrucial physiological processes, its homeostasis must beintensively controlled. The controlling mechanisms are basedespecially on the zinc transporters and low-molecular proteinsmetallothioneins (MTs) of the molecular weight between 6and 10 kDa, which were firstly discovered in a horse kidneys asthe cadmium-binding protein. High affinity of metallothioneinsto the zinc ions indicates their significant participation in thephysiological, but also pathological processes, which arecontrolled by zinc. This paper summarizes the connectionbetween metallothioneins and zinc and its significance on themolecular basis.


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