2019 Volume 44 Issue 5 Pages 327-333
Metallothionein (MT) is a low-molecular-weight, cysteine-rich, and metal-binding protein that protects cells from the cytotoxic effects of heavy metals and reactive oxygen species. Previously, we found that transcriptional induction of endothelial MT-1A was mediated by not only the metal-regulatory transcription factor 1 (MTF-1)-metal responsive element (MRE) pathway but also the nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-antioxidant response element/electrophile responsive element (ARE) pathway, whereas that of MT-2A was mediated only by the MTF-1-MRE pathway, using the organopnictogen compounds tris(pentafluorophenyl)stibane, tris(pentafluorophenyl)arsane, and tris(pentafluorophenyl)phosphane as molecular probes in vascular endothelial cells. In the present study, we investigated the binding sites of MTF-1 and Nrf2 in the promoter regions of MTs in cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells treated with these organopnictogen compounds. We propose potential mechanisms underlying transcriptional induction of endothelial MT isoforms. Specifically, both MRE activation by MTF-1 and that of ARE in the promoter region of the MT-2A gene by Nrf2 are involved in transcriptional induction of MT-1A, whereas only MRE activation by MTF-1 or other transcriptional factor(s) is required for transcriptional induction of MT-2A in vascular endothelial cells.