Identification, partial characterization, and use of grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) vitellogenins for the development of ELISA and biosensor immunoassays


School of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Camerino, Via Gentile III Da Varano, 62032, Camerino, MC, Italy



Vitellogenin (Vtg) has proven to be a sensitive and simple biomarker in determining sex, sexual maturity, and xenoestrogenic effects in fish. Thus, our investigation has been focused on identification, partial characterization, and quantification of grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) Vtg through the use of a variety of biochemical and immunological analytical techniques. Mullet is considered both a promising aquaculture candidate and an important species for improving sediment quality in polyculture systems. In the first part of this work, grey mullet Vtg was purified from plasma of 17β-estradiol (E2)-induced male fish by a one-step chromatographic protocol, and partially characterized. Specific polyclonal antibodies were then raised against the mullet Vtg, and both an indirect ELISA and an optical immunosensor were set up and validated to quantify plasma Vtg. The indirect ELISA and the optical immunosensor assay developed showed linear measuring in the range 56.8–1047.1 ng mL−1 and 70–739 ng mL−1 Vtg concentrations in standard solutions, respectively. The results obtained suggest that the indirect ELISA allows Vtg detection over a wide dynamic range, thus resulting more suitable for rapid and sensitive sample screening. Therefore, we suggest that the direct immunosensor is a promising tool which needs more investigation to improve the sensitivity.