Metal handling strategies in molluscs

  • William J. Langston
  • Maria João Bebianno
  • Gary R. Burt


The concentration and distribution of metals in molluscan tissues, as in any other organism, is highly dependent on the biochemical processes of metal metabolism occurring within cells. Many of these processes and associated metal-binding systems are common to a broad range of phyla, reflecting their evolutionary success in regulating the essential elements (e.g. Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn, Co) for physiological, biochemical and morphological purposes. The involvement of metallothionein (MT) in buffering intracellular metal ions is one of the best examples of such a ubiquitous metal sequestration system. Proteins of a metallothionein-like nature are represented in many branches of the phylogenetic tree, from microorganisms to humans, and consequently are regarded as a central constituent of metal metabolism. Other sequestration mechanisms are relatively unique to individual taxonomie groups so that even within a single phylum, exemplified here by molluscs, there may be a large diversity in the nature and expression of metal metabolism, according to metal requirements. The result is manifested by a wide range of behaviour in terms of uptake, detoxification and storage — the major components of metal bioaccumulation.


Digestive Gland Body Burden Mytilus Edulis Marine Ecology Progress Series Assimilation Pathway 
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.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Langston
  • Maria João Bebianno
  • Gary R. Burt

There are no affiliations available

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