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Global Gene Expression Profiling in Larval Zebrafish Exposed to Microcystin-LR and Microcystis Reveals Endocrine Disrupting Effects of Cyanobacteria

Author(s): Rogers, Emily D.; Theodore B. Henry; Michael J. Twiner; Julia S. Gouffon; Jackson T. McPherson; Gregory L. Boyer; Gary S. Sayler; Steven W. Wilhelm

NCCOS Center: CSCOR (http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/about/centers/cscor)

Name of Publisher: American Chemical Society

Publication Type: Journal Article

Journal Title: Environmental Science and Technology

Date of Publication: 2011

Reference Information: 45(5):

Extent of Work: pp. 1962-1969

Keywords: gene expression; Microcystis; zebrafish; microcystins; cyanobacteria; endocrine disrupters

Abstract: Microcystis blooms occur worldwide and threaten aquatic ecosystems and human health. Sublethal effects on early developmental stages of fish are largely unknown, and research has mainly focused on microcystin toxins (such as MC-LR) rather than Microcystis cells. We exposed (96 h) zebrafish larvae to purified MC-LR (0-1000 µg/L) or lyophilized Microcystis aeruginosa containing 4.5 µg/L MC-LR and evaluated changes in global gene expression (Affymetrix GeneChip zebrafish genome arrays). Significant changes in gene expression (g1.7-fold change, p < 0.0001) were determined with Rosetta Resolver 7.0, and ontology analysis was conducted with the DAVID bioinformatics tool. The number of differentially expressed genes relative to control increased with MC-LR concentration and included genes related to known mechanisms of action for MC-LR in mammals and older life stages of fish, as well as genes unique to larval zebrafish. Up-regulation of vitellogenin genes (vtg) (19.2-fold to >100-fold on arrays; 619.3-fold confirmed by quantitative PCR) was observed in Microcystis-exposed larvae but not in larvae exposed to MC-LR. Up-regulation of vtg indicates exposure to estrogenic substance(s) and suggests that Microcystis may be a natural source of environmental estrogens. Concerns about effects of Microcystis blooms may extend beyond those associated with the microcystin toxin.

Availability: Abstract available from journal website

Location URL: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es103538b