Polar Biology

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 601–609 | Cite as

Subcellular accumulation of Cu in the Antarctic bivalve Laternula elliptica from a naturally Cu-elevated bay of King George Island

  • Heeseon J. Choi
  • In-Young Ahn
  • Ko-Woon Kim
  • Yong-Suk Lee
  • In-Sook Lee
  • Kye-Heon Jeong
Original Paper


Subcellular Cu sequestration was examined in the digestive gland, kidney and gill of the Antarctic bivalve Laternula elliptica collected from a Cu-elevated bay in King George Island. Cu was associated with both the soluble cytosolic and insoluble particulate cell fractions in all three organs, but their relative contributions to Cu sequestration varied with tissue type and the total amount of Cu accumulated. Low-molecular-weight (10–13 kDa) metallothionein-like proteins were the major Cu-binding ligands in the cytosol of all three organs. Significant portions of the cytosolic Cu were also bound to proteins with different molecular weights in the kidney and gill. A strong immunological response to a metallothionein (MT) antibody confirmed the presence of MTs in all three organs. Numerous electron-dense granules, which are likely to be metal-rich, were observed in renal epithelial cells by transmission electron microscopy, suggesting that these granules also play a role in Cu sequestration.


Bivalve Mollusk Digestive Gland Insoluble Fraction Digestive Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are indebted to Seung Goo Ra and Soung Soo Han for their great efforts in collecting clams. We are also thankful to anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on this manuscript. Part of the metal analysis was conducted at Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI, Seoul Branch). This study was supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (No. R03–2000–000–00004–0) and Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heeseon J. Choi
    • 1
  • In-Young Ahn
    • 1
  • Ko-Woon Kim
    • 1
  • Yong-Suk Lee
    • 2
  • In-Sook Lee
    • 3
  • Kye-Heon Jeong
    • 2
  1. 1.Polar Sciences LaboratoryKorea Ocean Research and Development InstituteSeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Life SciencesSoonchunhyang UniversityAsanSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of BiologyEwha Womans UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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