Life-time exposure to waterborne copper II: Patterns of tissue accumulation and gene expression of the metal-transport proteins ctr1 and atp7b in the killifish Poecilia vivipara
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The involvement of transporting proteins on copper (Cu) bioaccumulation was evaluated in the killifish Poecilia vivipara chronically exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of waterborne Cu. Fish (<24 h-old) were maintained under control condition or exposed to different waterborne Cu concentrations (5, 9 and 20 μg/L) for 28 and 345 days in saltwater. Following exposure periods, Cu accumulation and the expression of genes encoding for the high affinity Cu-transporter (ctr1) and the P-type Cu-ATPase (atp7b) were evaluated. Whole-body metal accumulation and gene expression were evaluated in fish exposed to 28 days. Similarly, in fish exposed to 345 days, liver, gills and gut were also evaluated. No fish survival was observed after exposure to 20 μg/L for 345 days. Whole-body Cu accumulation was significantly higher in fish exposed to 20 μg/L Cu for 28 days and in fish exposed to 9 μg/L for 345 days in comparison to control animals. Similarly, tissue Cu accumulation was significantly higher in fish exposed to 9 μg/L for 345 days in comparison to control animal. However, no significant accumulation was observed in fish muscle. Following exposure for 28 days, whole-body ctr1 expression was slightly induced in fish exposed to 9 μg/L. In turn, no significant change in ctr1 expression was observed following exposure to Cu for 345 days. Differently, whole-body atp7b expression was markedly up-regulated in the whole-body of fish exposed Cu for 28 days and in tissues of fish exposed to Cu for 345 days. These findings indicate the expression of atp7b is more responsive to Cu accumulation in P. vivipara than ctr1 expression and, therefore, more suitable to be used as a biomarker of exposure to this metal. Also, we argue that the expression of atp7b is sustained at elevated levels for as much time as fish are maintained in Cu contaminated water.
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