J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 1227 - 1230

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 1227
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030522

Separation and characterization of metallothionein in the liver of sea turtles by high performance liquid chromatographylinductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry

T. Shinsuke, A. Yasumi and K. Takashi

Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES), Ehime University, Tarumi 3-5-7, Matsuyama 790-8566, Japan

To investigate whether trace metals bind to metallothioneins (MTs) in the hepatocytosol of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), MT fraction was obtained by ultracentrifugation and gel filtration methods. MTs separated from hepatocytosol were further purified and characterized by high performance liquid chromatography/inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. In addition, the involvement of MTs in the accumulation of trace metals in the liver of sea turtle was examine. Gel filtration analysis showed that significant amounts of Cu, Zn, Ag and Cd were bound to MT in the cytosol of sea turtles, suggesting that such trace metals were primarily detoxified by interaction with MTs in the liver. Elution profiles of these trace metals by anion-exchange chromatography were different between green turtles and hawksbill turtles. These results suggest the presence of multiple isoforms of MT in the liver of both sea turtles; however, constituents of isoforms were different between green and hawksbill turtles. In both species, we observed the elevation of the height of a specific peak in elution profile with an increase in Cu concentration in hepatocytosol. This result suggests the presence of a novel MT isoform related to copper accumulation in the liver of sea turtles.

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