Metallothioneins protect cytosolic creatine kinases against stress induced by nitrogen-based oxidants

Zhe Chen, Jie Li, Tong Jin Zhao, Xu Hui Li, Fan Guo Meng, Hang Mu, Yong Bin Yan, Hai Meng Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The formation of intracellular nitrogen-based oxidants has important physiological and pathological consequences. CK (creatine kinase), which plays a key role in intracellular energy metabolism, is a main target of low concentrations of oxidative and nitrative stresses. In the present study, the interaction between cytosolic CKs [MM-CK (muscle-type CK) and BB-CK (brain-type CK)] and MTs [metallothioneins; hMT2A (human MT-IIA) and hMT3 (human MT-III)] were characterized by both in vitro and intact-cell assays. MTs could successfully protect the cytosolic CKs against inactivation induced by low concentrations of PN (peroxynitrite) and NO both in vitro and in hMT2A-overexpressing H9c2 cells and hMT3-knockdown U-87 MG cells. Under high PN concentrations, CK formed granule-like structures, and MTs were well co-localized in these aggregated granules. Further analysis indicated that the number of cells containing the CK aggregates negatively correlated with the expression levels of MTs. In vitro experiments indicated that MTs could effectively protect CKs against aggregation during refolding, suggesting that MT might function as a chaperone to assist CK re-activation. The findings of the present study provide direct evidence of the connection between the two well-characterized intracellular systems: the precisely balanced energy homoeostasis by CKs and the oxidative-stress response system using MTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-632
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2012


  • Creatine kinase (CK)
  • Metallothionein (MT)
  • Molecular chaperone
  • Nitrative stress
  • Oxidative stress
  • Peroxynitrite (PN)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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