1. Gel filtration on Sephadex G 75 was used to separate the medium-molecular-weight zinc-binding proteins from the soluble fractions from the duodenal and jejuno-ileal segments of the rat gut at 30 min after the intragastric administration of a tracer dose of 65Zn. These proteins were resolved by ion-exchange chromatography on DEAE cellulose.
2. In both the duodenum and jejuno-ileal segment an appreciable fraction of the total soluble Zn was bound in a protein fraction that resembled metallothionein [MT] in its behaviour on gel filtration. These fractions, however, were not homogeneous, but contained several medium-molecular-weight Zn-binding proteins. In the duodenum, but not in the jejuno-ileal segment, two ofthese proteins appeared to be the isometallothioneins, ZnMT-I and ZnMT-11.
3. These results suggest a possible role for MT in the binding of newly-absorbed Zn in the duodenal mucosal cells. They also show that gel filtration alone is insufficient for the identification of MT in the intestine.