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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Induction of glutamate-cysteine ligase ( gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase) in the brains of adult female mice subchronically exposed to methylmercury.

Methylmercury (MeHg) is widely known for its potent neurotoxic properties. One proposed mechanism of action of MeHg relates to its high affinity for sulfhydryl groups, especially those found on glutathione (GSH) and proteins. Previous studies have shown that acute MeHg exposure results in an increase in the mRNA for the rate-limiting enzyme in GSH synthesis, glutamate-cysteine ligase (GLCL) (also known as gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase). In this study, we evaluated the effects of subchronic (12-week) MeHg exposure at 0, 3 or 10 ppm in the drinking water on GSH levels, GLCL catalytic (GLCLC) and regulatory subunit mRNA and protein levels, and GLCL activity in brain, liver and kidney tissue of C57B1/6 female mice. Contrary to previous findings in rats, there were no changes in GSH concentration in any of the tissues examined. However, there was an increase in GLCLC protein in the brain, which was accompanied by a 30% increase in GLCL activity. We conclude that up-regulation of GSH synthetic capacity in the brains of mice is a sensitive biomarker of subchronic MeHg exposure.[1]


  1. Induction of glutamate-cysteine ligase (gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase) in the brains of adult female mice subchronically exposed to methylmercury. Thompson, S.A., White, C.C., Krejsa, C.M., Diaz, D., Woods, J.S., Eaton, D.L., Kavanagh, T.J. Toxicol. Lett. (1999) [Pubmed]
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