Mercury (Hg) is a global environmental pollutant that affects human and ecosystem health. With the aim of exploring the Hg-induced protein modifications, intact human erythrocytes were exposed to HgCl2 (1-60 µM) and cytosolic and membrane proteins were analyzed by SDS-PAGE and AU-PAGE. A spectrofluorimetric assay for quantification of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) generation was also performed. Hg2+ exposure induces alterations in the electrophoretic profile of cytosolic proteins with a significant decrease in the intensity of the hemoglobin monomer, associated with the appearance of a 64 kDa band, identified as a mercurized tetrameric form. This protein decreases with increasing HgCl2 concentrations and Hg-induced ROS formation. Moreover, it appears resistant to urea denaturation and it is only partially dissociated by exposure to dithiothreitol, likely due to additional protein-Hg interactions involved in aggregate formation. In addition, specific membrane proteins, including band 3 and cytoskeletal proteins 4.1 and 4.2, are affected by Hg2+-treatment. The findings reported provide new insights into the Hg-induced possible detrimental effects on erythrocyte physiology, mainly related to alterations in the oxygen binding capacity of hemoglobin as well as decreases in band 3-mediated anion exchange. Finally, modifications of cytoskeletal proteins 4.1 and 4.2 could contribute to the previously reported alteration in cell morphology.

Novel Insights into Mercury Effects on Hemoglobin and Membrane Proteins in Human Erythrocytes

Piscopo, Marina
Co-primo
;
Lettieri, Gennaro;Palumbo, Giancarlo;Manna, Caterina
Ultimo
2020

Abstract

Mercury (Hg) is a global environmental pollutant that affects human and ecosystem health. With the aim of exploring the Hg-induced protein modifications, intact human erythrocytes were exposed to HgCl2 (1-60 µM) and cytosolic and membrane proteins were analyzed by SDS-PAGE and AU-PAGE. A spectrofluorimetric assay for quantification of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) generation was also performed. Hg2+ exposure induces alterations in the electrophoretic profile of cytosolic proteins with a significant decrease in the intensity of the hemoglobin monomer, associated with the appearance of a 64 kDa band, identified as a mercurized tetrameric form. This protein decreases with increasing HgCl2 concentrations and Hg-induced ROS formation. Moreover, it appears resistant to urea denaturation and it is only partially dissociated by exposure to dithiothreitol, likely due to additional protein-Hg interactions involved in aggregate formation. In addition, specific membrane proteins, including band 3 and cytoskeletal proteins 4.1 and 4.2, are affected by Hg2+-treatment. The findings reported provide new insights into the Hg-induced possible detrimental effects on erythrocyte physiology, mainly related to alterations in the oxygen binding capacity of hemoglobin as well as decreases in band 3-mediated anion exchange. Finally, modifications of cytoskeletal proteins 4.1 and 4.2 could contribute to the previously reported alteration in cell morphology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/814926
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