Metabolic status of the coral Mussismilia harttii in field conditions and the effects of copper exposure in vitro
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It is widely known that metals can alter enzyme functioning, however, little is known about the mechanisms of metal toxicity in energy metabolism enzymes of corals. Thus, the present study had two objectives: firstly, we evaluated the activity of eight metabolic enzymes of the coral Mussismilia harttii to clarify metabolic functioning under field conditions. After that, we investigated the in vitro effect of copper (Cu) exposure in the activity of an enzyme representative of each metabolism stage. We evaluated enzymes involved in glycolysis (hexokinase, HK; phosphofructokinase, PFK; pyruvate kinase, PK and lactate dehydrogenase, LDH), Krebs cycle (citrate synthase, CS and isocitrate dehydrogenase, IDH), electron transport chain (electron transport system activity, ETS) and pentose phosphate pathway (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, G6PDH). The in vitro tests were performed through contamination of the reaction medium using Cu concentrations of 0, 1.4, 3.7 and 14.2 μg L-1. The results showed that M. harttii has elevated activity of HK, PK and CS in field conditions compared to the activity of other energy metabolism enzymes evaluated. Moreover, lower activities of LDH and ETS in exposed samples were observed. In conclusion, in field conditions this species has elevated aerobic metabolism and glucose may be an important energetic fuel. Also, exposure to Cu in vitro caused inhibition of LDH and ETS by direct binding.