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J Proteome Res. 2014 Feb 7;13(2):496-505. doi: 10.1021/pr400657k. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Mercury alters B-cell protein phosphorylation profiles.

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Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, ‡Department of Pediatrics, and §Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Wayne State University , Detroit, Michigan 48201, United States.


Environmental exposure to mercury is suggested to contribute to human immune dysfunction. To shed light on the mechanism, we identified changes in the phosphoproteomic profile of the WEHI-231 B cell line after intoxication with Hg(2+). These changes were compared to changes in the phosphoproteome that were induced by pervanadate or okadaic acid exposure. Both 250 μM HgCl2 and pervanadate, a known phosphotyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, caused an increase in the number of proteins identified after TiO2 affinity selection and LC-MS/MS analysis. Pervanadate treatment had a larger effect than Hg(2+) on the number of Scansite motifs that were tyrosine-phosphorylated, 17, and Ingenuity canonical signaling pathways activated, 4, with score >5.0. However, Hg(2+) had a more focused effect, primarily causing tyrosine-phosphorylation in src homology 2 domains in proteins that are in the B cell receptor signaling pathway. The finding that many of the changes induced by Hg(2+) overlap with those of pervanadate, indicates that at high concentrations Hg(2+) inhibits protein tyrosine phosphatases.

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