Parvalbumin and Ubiquitin as Potential Biomarkers of Mercury Contamination of Amazonian Brazilian Fish

  • José Cavalcante Souza VieiraEmail author
  • Grasieli de Oliveira
  • Camila Pereira Braga
  • Mileni da Silva Fernandes
  • Paula Martin de Moraes
  • Marília Afonso Rabelo Buzalaf
  • Lincoln Carlos Silva de Oliveira
  • Pedro de Magalhães Padilha


Recent studies have demonstrated the association of mercury (Hg) with some fish proteins, milk, and hair from individuals exposed to the element in the Amazon. However, few studies involve identifying biomarkers of mercury exposure. Therefore, the present study aimed to identify potential biomarkers of Hg exposure in fish. For this, the muscular tissues of two species of fish (Prochilodus lineatus and Mylossoma duriventre) that feed the Amazonian human population were analyzed. Through the analyses obtained by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS), it was possible to identify four protein SPOTS where mercury was present. These SPOTS, identified by mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS), included parvalbumin and ubiquitin-40S ribosomal protein S27a, and these being metalloproteins with biomarker characteristics. In addition, the results show the intense Hg/protein ratio observed in the two proteins, which makes metalloproteins strong candidates for biomarkers of mercury exposure.

Graphical Abstract


Mercury in the Amazon Biomarkers Fish Mercury-bound proteins Metalloproteins Proteomics 


Funding Information

The authors thank the Brazilian Research Funding Agencies (FAPESP) (processes 2013/21297-1 and 2014/02668-1), the Coordination of Improvement of Higher Level Personnel (Capes), and the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All the work involved with animal experimentation developed in this paper was approved by the Ethics Committee on the Use of Animals (CEUA) of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics (FMVZ) of the São Paulo State University (UNESP), School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Botucatu, Brazil under the number of protocol 110/2015.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Cavalcante Souza Vieira
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Grasieli de Oliveira
    • 1
  • Camila Pereira Braga
    • 3
  • Mileni da Silva Fernandes
    • 4
  • Paula Martin de Moraes
    • 5
  • Marília Afonso Rabelo Buzalaf
    • 4
  • Lincoln Carlos Silva de Oliveira
    • 2
  • Pedro de Magalhães Padilha
    • 1
  1. 1.São Paulo State University (UNESP), Institute of BiosciencesBotucatuBrazil
  2. 2.Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS)Campo GrandeBrazil
  3. 3.Biochemistry DepartmentUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  4. 4.University of São Paulo, (USP)BauruBrazil
  5. 5.Local DevelopmentDom Bosco Catholic University (UCDB)Campo GrandeBrazil

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