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Regulation of heme pathway enzymes and cellular glutathione content by metals that do not chelate with tetrapyrroles: blockade of metal effects by thiols

, : Regulation of heme pathway enzymes and cellular glutathione content by metals that do not chelate with tetrapyrroles: blockade of metal effects by thiols. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 74(5): 1875-1878

The trace metals nickel and platinum, which are not substrates for ferrochelatase and thus do not form heme in biological systems, were found to act similaryl to cobalt, and heme itself, in regulating heme metabolism in liver and kidney. These metals induced heme oxygenase activity in both organs with the peak of induced enzyme activity reached approximately 16 hr after single injections in rats. Both metals caused transient depression of cellular glutathione content followed by increases above normal after 12 hr in liver. Nickel and platinum were more potent inducers of heme oxygenase in kidney than in liver (10-13 times normal versus 5-6 times normal). At high concentrations, they inhibited heme oxygenase [heme, hydrogen-donor:oxygen oxidoreductase (alpha-methene-oxidizing, hydroxylating), EC] in vitro. Both were active in regulating heme metabolism only when administered in the ionic form. Complexing of the metals with sulfhydryl agents completely blocked their actions on heme metabolism. Administration of cysteine orally prior to or shortly after administration of the metals had a similar blocking effect. Nickel and platinum produced depression of delta-aminolevulinate synthase [succinyl-CoA:glycine c-succinyltransferase (decarboxylating), EC] activity in liver, but neigther inhibited this rate-limiting ennzyme for heme synthesis in vitro. Furthermore, despite the substantial decreases in cellular heme and hemoprotein contents mediated by the metal, production of delta-amimolevulinate synthase did not undergo the compensatory increase that would be expected if there were a direct reciprocal feedback relationship between cellular heme level and synthesis of this enzyme. These findings indicate that it is not necessary for metal ions to be chelated in the porphyrin ring in order to regulate the enzymes of heme synthesis and heme oxidation. Accordingly, it is suggested that the iron atom of heme is the proximately active regulator of delta-aminolevulinate synthase and heme oxygenase--actions generally ascribed to the iron-tetrapyrrole complex itself--and that the tetrapyrrole moiety of the complex functions primarily as a means of transport of the metal to regulatory sites in cells.

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Accession: 041210917

PMID: 266710

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