Metallothioneins are a family of cysteine-rich, low molecular weight proteins. They bind both physiological (such as zinc, copper, selenium) and xenobiotic (such as cadmium, mercury, silver, arsenic) heavy metals through the thiol group of their cysteine residues, which represent nearly 30% of their amino acid residues. Metallothioneins are ubiquitously distributed and have highly diverse sequences. Sequence homology appears to be confined to proteins within taxonomic groups.
Dust of green coffee beans is a relevant cause for occupational allergy in coffee industry workers. The coffee dust allergens Cof a 2 and Cof a 3 are metallothioneins .
Family-defining Pfam domains (at least one of these domains is present in each family member):
|Pfam domain||Pfam clan|
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