, Volume 129, Issue 3, pp 453-463

Metallothionein-like metalloproteins in the Baltic clam Macoma balthica  : seasonal variations and induction upon metal exposure

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Metallothionein-like proteins (MTLs) have been measured by differential pulse polarography every two months during a period of two and half years in the marine bivalve Macoma balthica from two locations of the Western Scheldt Estuary. The MTL concentrations (0.85 to 7.81 mg g−1 dry wt) are comparable to most values found for other marine invertebrates. These concentrations vary significantly with the seasons (higher in winter, lower in summer), which is mainly due to body weight fluctuations. Strong correlations exist between MTL and metal levels. Upon short-term exposure to a mixture of Cd, Cu and Zn, there are on average significant MTL increases, but important seasonal variations have been observed: in winter, the clams are more sensitive to metals, uptake more Cd and Cu and induce more MTL than during the warmer months.