Protein expression profiles (PEPs) were generated by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-D SDS-PAGE) for gill and digestive glands of Mytilus edulis sampled from a polluted and reference site in Cork Harbour, Ireland. Similar patterns and expression levels were found for both sites in silver stained gels. However, Western blotting for carbonylated proteins demonstrated higher levels of specific carbonylation of proteins in tissues from animals in the polluted site. Animals from the reference site were acclimated in holding tanks, exposed to 1 mM H2O2 for 24 h, dissected and analysed by 2-D SDS-PAGE. Again, generally similar PEPs were found in control and exposed animals for gill and digestive gland but carbonylation was more pronounced in polluted and exposed animals. Western blotting of extracts after one-dimensional electrophoresis with antibodies to glutathione and actin revealed that gill proteins are glutathionylated more strongly than digestive gland and that this process is more pronounced in polluted animals than in controls. We conclude that carbonylation and glutathionylation can occur in gill and digestive gland in response to oxidative stress in M. edulis. Actin is a major target for both glutathionylation and carbonylation under oxidative stress conditions. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.