Physiological and functional aspects of metal-binding protein associated with mercury in the liver tissue of pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) from the Brazilian Amazon

Izabela da Cunha Bataglioli, José Cavalcante Souza Vieira, João Vitor de Queiroz, Mileni da Silva Fernandes, Alis Correia Bittarello, Camila Pereira Braga, Marília Afonso Rabelo Buzalaf, Jiri Adamec, Luiz Fabrício Zara, Pedro de Magalhães Padilha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


High concentrations of mercury found in soils, sediments, fish, and humans of the Amazon region have gained prominence in scientific studies during the last decade. However, studies related to the elucidation of mercury toxicity mechanisms in ichthyofauna at the molecular and metallomic levels that seek to elucidate physiological and functional aspects, as well as the search for biomarkers of mercury exposure, are still sparse. In the search for these answers, the present study analyzed the hepatic tissue proteome of the Arapaima gigas (pirarucu) fish species collected in the Jirau hydroelectric power plant reservoir in the state of Rondônia state, Brazil, in order to identify mercury-related metal-binding proteins and to elucidate their physiological and functional aspects. The proteomic profile of the hepatic tissue of Arapaima gigas was obtained by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) and the presence of mercury was mapped in the protein SPOTS by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry(GFAAS). Mercury was detected in 18 protein SPOTS with concentrations ranging from 0.13 ± 0.003 to 131.00 ± 3 mg kg−1. The characterization of the protein SPOTS associated with mercury was performed by electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry (ESI–MS/MS), and 10 proteins were identified. Bioinformatics analyses showed that most of the proteins found linked to mercury were involved in cellular component processes and biological processes. For the most part, protein sequences have cellular functions comprising catalytic, binding, sense of localization, and metabolic processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124320
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • 2D-PAGE
  • Bioinformatics analysis
  • Mercury in fish
  • Metal-binding protein
  • Metalloprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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