CAS Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research (YIC), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Shandong Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes, YICCAS, Yantai, 264003, PR China; Laboratory for Marine Fisheries Science and Food Production Processes, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, 266237, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
Cadmium (Cd) is an important heavy metal pollutant in the Bohai Sea. Mitochondria are recognized as the key target for Cd toxicity. However, mitochondrial responses to Cd have not been fully investigated in marine fishes. In this study, the mitochondrial responses were characterized in gills of juvenile flounder Paralichthys olivaceus treated with two environmentally relevant concentrations (5 and 50 μg/L) of Cd for 14 days by determination of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), observation of mitochondrial morphology and quantitative proteomic analysis. Both Cd treatments significantly decreased MMPs of mitochondria from flounder gills. Mitochondrial morphologies were altered in Cd-treated flounder samples, indicated by more and smaller mitochondria. iTRAQ-based proteomic analysis indicated that a total of 128 proteins were differentially expressed in both Cd treatments. These proteins were basically involved in various biological processes in gill mitochondria, including mitochondrial morphology and import, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), primary bile acid biosynthesis, stress resistance and apoptosis. These results indicated that dynamic regulations of energy homeostasis, cholesterol metabolism, stress resistance, apoptosis, and mitochondrial morphology in gill mitochondria might play significant roles in response to Cd toxicity. Overall, this study provided a global view on mitochondrial toxicity of Cd in flounder gills using iTRAQ-based proteomics.