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Bioinorganic Chemistry and Applications
Volume 3, Issue 1-2, Pages 43-53

Voltammetric Methods in Metallothionein Research

J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dolejškova 3, Prague 8 182 23, Czech Republic

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The application of voltammetric methods using different rates of polarisation on HMDE reveal inert or labile behaviour of Cd- or Zn- complexes in the presence of excessive cadmium or zinc ions in solution. This phenomenon was demonstrated first on the simplest phytochelatin – complex of peptide (γ-Glu-Cys)2Gly with cadmium, later on rabbit liver metallothioneins – Cd7MT in the presence of cadmium and Cd5Zn2MT in the presence of zinc. Voltammetric methods can distinguish between labile and inert complexes present simultaneously and therefore could elucidate their role in reactions of metal ion transfer.

Another method using different rates of polarisation – elimination voltammetry with linear scan – proved that S-tetracoordinated complexes of Cd(II) or Zn(II) in the above-mentioned metallothioneins on HMDE are reduced in the adsorbed state. This implies the possibility of increasing the sensitivity of identification or determination of the above complexes. On carbon composite electrode, similar behaviour of Cd-complexes as on HMDE was observed using differential pulse voltammetry.