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Abstract Title: Organomercurial lyase (MerB): the global tweezers that can be used for cutting, capturing and biosensing aqueous Methylmercury
Presenter Name: Allwin Mabes Raj
Company/Institution: IOS, Institute for Environmental Protection and Sensors
Session: Progress in understanding Hg and human health impacts
Day and Session: Tuesday 26th July - Session Two
Start Time: 10:00 UTC
Co-Authors: Allwin Mabes Raj

Abstract Information :

Methylmercury (MeHg) is the most toxic mercury species and can be more easily accumulated by organisms causing prenatal nervous system and visceral damage. Therefore, cost-effective, selective, and sensitive detection of MeHg in various environmental matrices is essential. For efficient detection of MeHg, it is crucial to discriminate MeHg from other species of mercury. In order to construct a MeHg sensitive and selective nanobiosensor, we utilized a microbial detoxification mechanism against MeHg using merB enzyme as a sensing molecule instead of lyase. Accordingly, we plan to perform molecular cloning for expression, purification, characterization of MerB and targeted capturing of MeHg with high specificity by depriving the cofactors such as NADPH necessary for the enzyme for the converting of MeHg to Hg2+ (Inorganic mercury) . We envisage building a 3D (dimensional) colloidal matrix by mounting MerB on gold nanoparticles which would act as a receptor for MeHg with high specificity. We intend to use SERS (Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy), a powerful vibrational spectroscopy technique that allows for highly sensitive structural detection of low concentration of MeHg through the amplification of electromagnetic fields generated by the excitation of localized surface plasmons. We speculate that the nano biosensor would enable us to map the Hg flux in real-time and determine the bioaccumulation and biomagnification rates of MeHg in various environmental matrices.

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