Special Issue "Responses and Defense Mechanisms against Toxic Metals"

A special issue of Stresses (ISSN 2673-7140).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Soisungwan Satarug
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
UQ Diamantina Institute and Centre for Health Services Research, Centre for Kidney Disease Research and Translational Research Institute, Woolloongabba, Brisbane QLD 4102, Australia
Interests: epidemiology of cadmium toxicity; genetic and nutritional influence of cadmium toxicity outcomes; cadmium toxicity in at-risk subpopulations; novel methods of measuring cadmium in tissues; reverse dosimetry
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Luigi Sanita' di Toppi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Pisa, via Luca Ghini 13, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Interests: heavy metals; metal homeostasis; phytochelatins; phytochelatin synthase; glutathione; plant evolution; lichens
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Rocío Vicentefranqueira Rodríguez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Microbiología y Genética, Universidad de Salamanca, 37007 Salamanca, Spain
Interests: aspergillus fumigatus; zinc; transcription; regulation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The cellular stress response is a universal reaction of cells to damage to macromolecules (nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids) caused by stressors. Although many responses are not strictly specific, several other stress-specific mechanisms are simultaneously activated to restore or re-establish homeostasis. This Stresses Special Issue calls for epidemiological and experimental studies that investigate animal, human, plant, photoautotrophic, fungal, bacterial and viral responses to metal and metalloids, namely, cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), etc., as well as excess/homeostatic levels of iron (Fe), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), etc. These are all elements that have been mobilized from non-bioavailable geologic matrices to biologically accessible sources from which they can enter food chains. Indeed, they are not biodegradable, and thus they persist indefinitely in the environment, which facilitates their transfer to food chains. In particular, Cd and Pb in cereals, potatoes, and other vegetables contribute the most to the total intake of these toxic metals (https://encyclopedia.pub/3575), while seafood is a known dietary source of methylmercury.

Authors are invited and welcome to submit original research papers, reviews, and short communications. Topics may embrace fundamental cell functions that are responsive to any toxic metal(loid), including excess of metal micronutrients. Examples are heme biosynthesis, heme degradation, and the homeostatic regulation of nutritionally essential Fe, Zn, and Cu. Studies of genetic and nutritional influences on these stress-response and stress-defense mechanisms are favourable, as are those attempting to elucidate the interplay of nutrition, genetics, and the environment in all the above biological systems. Reports of methodological development to probe cellular stressor responses are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Soisungwan Satarug
Prof. Dr. Luigi Sanita' di Toppi
Dr. Rocío Vicentefranqueira Rodríguez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Stresses is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Glutathione
  • Heme
  • Heme oxygenases
  • Heme sensor
  • Metallothionein
  • Metal homeostasis
  • Phytochelatins
  • Phytochelatin synthase
  • Stress-response mechanism
  • Stress response element (StRE)
  • Cadmium response element (CdRE)
  • Metal response element (MRE)
  • Reporter gene assay
  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Anti-oxidative system

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
Antioxidant Enzyme Activities as Biomarkers of Cu and Pb Stress in Centella asiatica
Stresses 2021, 1(4), 253-265; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses1040018 - 05 Nov 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
The present study investigated the antioxidant enzyme activities (AEA) of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase (CAT), guaiacol peroxidase (GPX), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) as biomarkers of Cu and Pb stress by using Centella asiatica grown in an experimental hydroponic condition. The results showed (i) [...] Read more.
The present study investigated the antioxidant enzyme activities (AEA) of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase (CAT), guaiacol peroxidase (GPX), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) as biomarkers of Cu and Pb stress by using Centella asiatica grown in an experimental hydroponic condition. The results showed (i) higher accumulations of Cu and Pb in the roots of C. asiatica than those in the leaves, (ii) synergistic effects of Cu and Pb stress at higher metal-level exposures, and (iii) Cu and Pb stress triggered the increment of APX, CAT, GPX, and SOD levels in both the leaves and roots of C. asiatica. The increment of four AEA indicated that C. asiatica underwent oxidative stress caused by the production of reactive oxygen species when the plant was exposed to Cu and Pb. In order to prevent damages caused by Cu and Pb stress, the AEA system was heightened in C. asiatica, in which APX, CAT, GPX, and SOD can be used as biomarkers of Pb and Cu stress in the plant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses and Defense Mechanisms against Toxic Metals)
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Article
Theoretical Three-Dimensional Zinc Complexes with Glutathione, Amino Acids and Flavonoids
Stresses 2021, 1(3), 123-141; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses1030011 - 28 Jul 2021
Viewed by 819
Abstract
Zinc plays an important role in the regulation of many cellular functions; it is a signaling molecule involved in the transduction of several cascades in response to intra and extracellular stimuli. Labile zinc is a small fraction of total intracellular zinc, that is [...] Read more.
Zinc plays an important role in the regulation of many cellular functions; it is a signaling molecule involved in the transduction of several cascades in response to intra and extracellular stimuli. Labile zinc is a small fraction of total intracellular zinc, that is loosely bound to proteins and is easily interchangeable. At the cellular level, several molecules can bind labile zinc and promote its passage across lipophilic membranes. Such molecules are known as ionophores. Several of these compounds are known in the scientific literature, but most of them can be harmful to human health and are therefore not allowed for medical use. We here performed a theoretical three-dimensional study of known zinc ionophores, together with a computational energetic study and propose that some dietary flavonoids, glutathione and amino acids could form zinc complexes and facilitate the transport of zinc, with the possible biological implications and potential health benefits of these natural compounds. The study is based on obtaining a molecular conformational structure of the zinc complexes with the lowest possible energy content. The discovery of novel substances that act as zinc ionophores is an attractive research topic that offers exciting opportunities in medicinal chemistry. We propose that these novel complexes could be promising candidates for drug design to provide new solutions for conditions and diseases related to zinc deficiency or impairment derived from the dysregulation of this important metal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses and Defense Mechanisms against Toxic Metals)
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Article
Gender Differences in Zinc and Copper Excretion in Response to Co-Exposure to Low Environmental Concentrations of Cadmium and Lead
Stresses 2021, 1(1), 3-15; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses1010002 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1636
Abstract
Disruption of the homeostasis of zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) has been associated with nephrotoxicity of cadmium (Cd). Herein, we report the results of a cross sectional analysis of urinary excretion of Zn, Cu, Cd and lead (Pb) in 392 Thais (mean age [...] Read more.
Disruption of the homeostasis of zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) has been associated with nephrotoxicity of cadmium (Cd). Herein, we report the results of a cross sectional analysis of urinary excretion of Zn, Cu, Cd and lead (Pb) in 392 Thais (mean age 33.6) living in an area of low-level environmental exposure to Cd and Pb, reflected by the respective median Cd and Pb excretion rates of 0.44 and 1.75 μg/g creatinine. Evidence for dysregulation of Zn and Cu homeostasis has emerged together with gender differentiated responses. In men, excretion rates for Zn and Cu were increased concomitantly, and their urinary Zn-to-Cu ratios were maintained. In women, only Cu excretion rose, causing a reduction in urinary Zn-to-Cu ratios. Only in women, urinary Zn-to-Cu ratios were associated with worse kidney function, assessed by estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) (β = −7.76, p = 0.015). Only in men, a positive association was seen between eGFR and body iron stores, reflected by serum ferritin (β = 5.32, p = 0.030). Thus, co-exposure to Cd and Pb may disrupt the homeostasis of Zn and Cu more severely in women than men, while urinary Zn-to-Cu ratios and body iron stores can serve as predictors of an adverse effect of co-exposure to Cd and Pb. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses and Defense Mechanisms against Toxic Metals)
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Review

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Review
The Evolving Role for Zinc and Zinc Transporters in Cadmium Tolerance and Urothelial Cancer
Stresses 2021, 1(2), 105-118; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses1020009 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1327
Abstract
Cadmium (Cd) is an environmental toxicant with serious public health consequences due to its persistence within arable soils, and the ease with which it enters food chains and then, accumulates in human tissues to induce a broad range of adverse health effects. The [...] Read more.
Cadmium (Cd) is an environmental toxicant with serious public health consequences due to its persistence within arable soils, and the ease with which it enters food chains and then, accumulates in human tissues to induce a broad range of adverse health effects. The present review focuses on the role of zinc (Zn), a nutritionally essential metal, to protect against the cytotoxicity and carcinogenicity of Cd in urinary bladder epithelial cells. The stress responses and defense mechanisms involving the low-molecular-weight metal binding protein, metallothionein (MT), are highlighted. The efflux and influx transporters of the ZnT and Zrt-/Irt-like protein (ZIP) gene families are discussed with respect to their putative role in retaining cellular Zn homeostasis. Among fourteen ZIP family members, ZIP8 and ZIP14 mediate Cd uptake by cells, while ZnT1 is among ten ZnT family members solely responsible for efflux of Zn (Cd), representing cellular defense against toxicity from excessively high Zn (Cd) intake. In theory, upregulation of the efflux transporter ZnT1 concomitant with the downregulation of influx transporters such as ZIP8 and ZIP14 can prevent Cd accumulation by cells, thereby increasing tolerance to Cd toxicity. To link the perturbation of Zn homeostasis, reflected by the aberrant expression of ZnT1, ZIP1, ZIP6, and ZIP10, with malignancy, tolerance to Cd toxicity acquired during Cd-induced transformation of a cell model of human urothelium, UROtsa, is discussed as a particular example. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses and Defense Mechanisms against Toxic Metals)
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