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Trace element uptake in liver cells. 2. Effect of different proteins in the medium on the uptake of copper and zinc by hepatoma cells

Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0162-0134(85)85057-1
  • Biology


Abstract Cultured rat hepatoma cells (HTC-cells) were used to study the uptake of copper and zinc from a minimal salt-glucose medium, supplemented with albumin from different species or with ovalbumin. Competitive equilibrium dialysis showed that at low molar ratios of metal/protein ( < 1) the affinity for copper of human and bovine albumin was about equal, but that of dog albumin or ovalbumin was much lower. Only a small difference in affinity for zinc could be detected between human albumin and ovalbumin. Supplementing the medium with the different proteins the rate of copper uptake in the cell at a given molar Cu/protein ratio increased as follows: human albumin ⋍ bovine albumin < dog albumin < ovalbumin. When the molar Cu/protein ratio was increased, a discontinuity was seen with all three albumin species at a ratio of about 1. In contrast, the zinc uptake mimics that of Cu/ovalbumin, and no discontinuity was observed using different molar Zn/protein ratios. These results indicate that the rate of copper and zinc uptake depends strongly on its affinity for the protein: a low affinity leads to a high uptake. The results suggest further that at physiologic concentrations zinc is taken up by a mechanism different from that for copper.

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