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New Insights into Alterations in PL Proteins Affecting Their Binding to DNA after Exposure of Mytilus galloprovincialis to Mercury—A Possible Risk to Sperm Chromatin Structure?

by 1,†, 2,†, 1,†, 3, 3, 2 and 1,*
1
Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cinthia, 21, 80126 Naples, Italy
2
Department of Precision Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, via Luigi de Crecchio, 80138 Naples, Italy
3
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cinthia, 21, 80126 Naples, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Gladys Mirey
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(11), 5893; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115893
Received: 15 April 2021 / Revised: 14 May 2021 / Accepted: 28 May 2021 / Published: 31 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Genotoxicity)
Mercury (Hg) is a highly toxic and widespread pollutant. We previously reported that the exposure of Mytilus galloprovincialis for 24 h to doses of HgCl2 similar to those found in seawater (range 1–100 pM) produced alterations in the properties of protamine-like (PL) proteins that rendered them unable to bind and protect DNA from oxidative damage. In the present work, to deepen our studies, we analyzed PL proteins by turbidimetry and fluorescence spectroscopy and performed salt-induced release analyses of these proteins from sperm nuclei after the exposure of mussels to HgCl2 at the same doses. Turbidity assays indicated that mercury, at these doses, induced PL protein aggregates, whereas fluorescence spectroscopy measurements showed mercury-induced conformational changes. Indeed, the mobility of the PLII band changed in sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, particularly after exposure to 10-pM HgCl2, confirming the mercury-induced structural rearrangement. Finally, exposure to HgCl2 at all doses produced alterations in PL-DNA binding, detectable by DNA absorption spectra after the PL protein addition and by a decreased release of PLII and PLIII from the sperm nuclei. In conclusion, in this paper, we reported Hg-induced PL protein alterations that could adversely affect mussel reproductive activity, providing an insight into the molecular mechanism of Hg-related infertility. View Full-Text
Keywords: mussel; HgCl2; spermatozoa; PL proteins; sperm nuclei; fluorescence spectroscopy; turbidity assays; reproduction mussel; HgCl2; spermatozoa; PL proteins; sperm nuclei; fluorescence spectroscopy; turbidity assays; reproduction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lettieri, G.; Notariale, R.; Carusone, N.; Giarra, A.; Trifuoggi, M.; Manna, C.; Piscopo, M. New Insights into Alterations in PL Proteins Affecting Their Binding to DNA after Exposure of Mytilus galloprovincialis to Mercury—A Possible Risk to Sperm Chromatin Structure? Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 5893. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115893

AMA Style

Lettieri G, Notariale R, Carusone N, Giarra A, Trifuoggi M, Manna C, Piscopo M. New Insights into Alterations in PL Proteins Affecting Their Binding to DNA after Exposure of Mytilus galloprovincialis to Mercury—A Possible Risk to Sperm Chromatin Structure? International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(11):5893. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115893

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lettieri, Gennaro, Rosaria Notariale, Nadia Carusone, Antonella Giarra, Marco Trifuoggi, Caterina Manna, and Marina Piscopo. 2021. "New Insights into Alterations in PL Proteins Affecting Their Binding to DNA after Exposure of Mytilus galloprovincialis to Mercury—A Possible Risk to Sperm Chromatin Structure?" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 11: 5893. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115893

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