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FEBS Lett. 1998 Jul 24;431(3):437-42.

The identification, cloning and characterization of earthworm metallothionein.

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School of Molecular and Medical Biosciences, University of Wales, Cardiff, UK.


Combining standard gel chromatographic techniques and novel molecular methodologies (Directed Differential Display and quantitative PCR), it has been possible to isolate and sequence two isoforms of the first true earthworm metallothionein. Both proteins are characteristically high in cysteine residues and possess no significant aromatic residues. Metal responsiveness was confirmed by determining metallothionein specific expression profiles in earthworms exposed to soils of differing heavy metal concentrations. Analysis of the derived amino acid sequence of isoform 2 identified two putative N-glycosylation signal sequences, suggesting that the two isoforms may have different subcellular distributions and functions. Possible implications for intracellular metal trafficking are discussed.

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