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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1569; doi:10.3390/ijms18071569

Unravelling the Role of Metallothionein on Development, Reproduction and Detoxification in the Wall Lizard Podarcis sicula

1
Department of Biology, University Federico II, Via Mezzocannone 8, 80134 Napoli, Italy
2
Department of Sciences and Technology, University Parthenope, Centro Direzionale, Isola C4, 80143 Napoli, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 May 2017 / Revised: 13 July 2017 / Accepted: 16 July 2017 / Published: 19 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Metabolism in Animals II)
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Abstract

Metallothioneins (MTs) are an evolutionary conserved multigene family of proteins whose role was initially identified in binding essential metals. The physiological role of MT, however, has been revealed to be more complex than expected, since not only are MTs able to bind to toxic heavy metals, but many isoforms have shown specialized and alternative functions. Within this uncertainty, the information available on MTs in non-mammalian vertebrates, particularly in neglected tetrapods such as the reptiles, is even more scant. In this review, we provide a summary of the current understanding on metallothionein presence and function in the oviparous lizard Podarcis sicula, highlighting the results obtained by studying MT gene expression in most representative adult and embryonic tissues. The results demonstrate that in adults, cadmium induces MT transcription in a dose- and tissue-specific manner. Thus, the MT mRNAs appear, at least in some cases, to be an unsuitable tool for detecting environmental ion contamination. In early embryos, maternal RNAs sustain developmental needs for MT protein until organogenesis is well on its way. At this time, transcription starts, but again in a tissue- and organ-specific manner, suggesting an involvement in alternative roles. In conclusion, the spatiotemporal distribution of transcripts in adults and embryos definitively confirms that MT has deserved the title of elusive protein. View Full-Text
Keywords: Podarcis sicula metallothionein; gene expression; in situ hybridisation; embryonic development; cadmium; oogenesis; spermatogenesis Podarcis sicula metallothionein; gene expression; in situ hybridisation; embryonic development; cadmium; oogenesis; spermatogenesis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Scudiero, R.; Verderame, M.; Motta, C.M.; Simoniello, P. Unravelling the Role of Metallothionein on Development, Reproduction and Detoxification in the Wall Lizard Podarcis sicula. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1569.

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