Since the exposure of rats to cadmium causes zinc to accumulate in metallothionein in liver and kidney but not in a similar protein in the testes, the properties of the low-Mr cadmium-binding proteins were investigated in rat testes. Weanling rats that had been given dietary cadmium for 6 weeks were injected with 109CdCl2 and subsequently killed, and the 109Cd-labelled low-Mr proteins from testes were purified. The pooled low-Mr cadmium-containing fractions from the gel-filtration (Sephadex G-75) columns were eluted through DEAE-Sephacel columns, yielding two peaks. Each of the individual peaks from this Sephacel column was further purified by rechromatography on DEAE-Sephacel and on Bio-Gel P-10 columns. Amino acid analysis of the two purified proteins revealed a low cysteine (about 3%) content, with aspartate, glutamate and glycine as the predominant amino acids. Thus these low-Mr cadmium-binding proteins induced by cadmium in rat testes do not appear to be metallothionein.

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