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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1747; doi:10.3390/ijms18081747

Challenging the Metallothionein (MT) Gene of Biomphalaria glabrata: Unexpected Response Patterns Due to Cadmium Exposure and Temperature Stress

Institute of Zoology and Center of Molecular Biosciences Innsbruck (CMBI), University of Innsbruck, Technikerstrasse 25, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
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Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 11 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Metabolism in Animals II)
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Abstract

Metallothioneins (MTs) are low-molecular-mass, cysteine-rich, metal binding proteins. In most animal species, they are involved in metal homeostasis and detoxification, and provide protection from oxidative stress. Gastropod MTs are highly diversified, exhibiting unique features and adaptations like metal specificity and multiplications of their metal binding domains. Here, we show that the MT gene of Biomphalaria glabrata, one of the largest MT genes identified so far, is composed in a unique way. The encoding for an MT protein has a three-domain structure and a C-terminal, Cys-rich extension. Using a bioinformatic approach involving structural and in silico analysis of putative transcription factor binding sites (TFBs), we found that this MT gene consists of five exons and four introns. It exhibits a regulatory promoter region containing three metal-responsive elements (MREs) and several TFBs with putative involvement in environmental stress response, and regulation of gene expression. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) data indicate that the MT gene is not inducible by cadmium (Cd) nor by temperature challenges (heat and cold), despite significant Cd uptake within the midgut gland and the high Cd tolerance of metal-exposed snails. View Full-Text
Keywords: metallothionein; metal binding domain; cadmium tolerance; heat shock; cold shock; Biomphalaria glabrata; Gastropoda; Hygrophila metallothionein; metal binding domain; cadmium tolerance; heat shock; cold shock; Biomphalaria glabrata; Gastropoda; Hygrophila
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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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Niederwanger, M.; Dvorak, M.; Schnegg, R.; Pedrini-Martha, V.; Bacher, K.; Bidoli, M.; Dallinger, R. Challenging the Metallothionein (MT) Gene of Biomphalaria glabrata: Unexpected Response Patterns Due to Cadmium Exposure and Temperature Stress. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1747.

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