The “magic numbers” of metallothionein

  • Duncan E. K. Sutherland, Martin J. Stillman
  • Metallomics, January 2011, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • DOI: 10.1039/c0mt00102c

Magic Numbers of MT

What is it about?

Metallothionein (MT), a protein, is considered key in humans for the storage of useful metals, such as zinc and copper, as well as the disposal of toxic metals, such as cadmium and mercury. Each of these metals has unique chemical properties. This review focuses on describing how MT interacts with each metal. Importantly, MT can bind different amounts of each metal leading to very different structures. This review also catalogs these structures and provides insight into the function of MT.

Why is it important?

This review provides the reader with access to the past 60 years of metallothionein (MT) structures and discusses them in the context of newly discovered supermetalated MT. We also define herein, the magic numbers of MT as the commonly determined metal-to-protein stoichiometric ratios. These ratios are found in a number of different MT structures. While the metal-ions themselves may be different, these common ratios likely underlie similarities in the adopted structure of the protein.

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The following have contributed to this page: Martin Stillman