A low-molecular-weight cadmium-binding protein was induced in the livers of rainbow trout ( Salmo gairdnerii ) following a series of intraperitoneal injections of cadmium chloride. The subsequent purification and amino acid analysis of this protein showed it to be a true metallothionein. As in higher organisms, two major forms of metallothionein appeared to be present in the liver following cadmium treatment. Following a similar induction procedure total RNA was also isolated and shown to contain high levels of metallothionein-mRNA activity when assayed in a wheat-germ cell-free translation system. This activity was present in the Poly-A + -containing fraction of the total RNA. The bulk of this mRNA activity was shown to be in the 8–10S region of a sucrose gradient.
Continuous exposure of Chinook salmon embryo cells to an elevated incubation temperature of 24°C induces the transient expression of a set of heat-shock or stress proteins whereas maintenance of the cells at a higher incubation temperature of 28°C produces a continuous synthesis of these stress proteins. In vitro translation studies suggest that the temperature-dependent temporal pattern of stress-protein synthesis is correlated with the levels of stress-protein mRNA. This was verified using a recombinant-DNA probe complementary to the 70K heat-shock-protein mRNA. A transient increase in the level of the fish heat-shock 70K mRNA was observed in RNA samples isolated from cells continuously exposed at 24°C However, a constant increase in the level of this specific mRNA was found in RNA preparations obtained from cells maintained at 28°C Therefore, the temperature-dependent pattern of fish heat-shockprotein synthesis appears to be directly related to the level of heat-shock-protein mRNA.