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

Implication of distinct proteins in cadmium uptake and transport by intestinal cells HT-29.

The mechanisms of intestinal absorption have not been clearly elucidated for cadmium, a toxic metal. In this work, we show the implication of distinct proteins in cadmium transport, and the transport step where these proteins are involved. We first validated the HT-29 model by evaluating nontoxic doses of cadmium (ranging from 1 to 20 micromol/L), and by quantifying metal uptake and transepithelial transport. The time-course of 1 micromol/L cadmium uptake at pH 7.5 showed three steps: a rapid one during the first 4 min, probably due to cadmium binding to the membrane; a slower one, characterized by Km of 1.65+/-0.54 micromol/L and Vmax of 3.9+/-0.3 micromol/min per mg protein; and a third, corresponding to slow accumulation that was not equilibrated even after 48 h of cadmium exposure. Intracellular metallothionein content following 1 or 5 micromol/L cadmium exposure showed a significant increase after 6 h of exposure, and was not equilibrated even after 72 h, allowing cadmium accumulation. After 24 h of exposure, metallothionein content was 5-fold, 14-fold, 26-fold, and 50-fold, respectively, for cells grown in the presence of 1, 5, 10, and 20 micromol/L cadmium, compared to control cells. The second step of uptake, characterized by carrier-mediated transport, was markedly increased at pH 5.5, compared to pH 7.5, and strongly inhibited by the metabolic inhibitor dinitrophenol. Moreover Nramp2 transporter cDNA was present in HT-29 cells. These data suggest the involvement of a proton-coupled transporter, which may be the divalent cation transporter Nramp2 (natural resistance-associated macrophage protein 2). Cadmium uptake was also inhibited by copper, zinc, and para-chloromercuribenzenesulfonate (pCMBS), but not by verapamil or ouabain. Taken together, our results indicate that cadmium could enter HT-29 cell by Nramp2 proton-coupled active transport and by diffusion, and accumulates in the cell as long as it binds to metallothionein. Cadmium toxicity could depend partly on the activity of Nramp2, and partly on metallothionein content.[1]


  1. Implication of distinct proteins in cadmium uptake and transport by intestinal cells HT-29. Lecoeur, S., Huynh-Delerme, C., Blais, A., Duché, A., Tomé, D., Kolf-Clauw, M. Cell Biol. Toxicol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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