Salinity-dependent copper accumulation in the guppy Poecilia vivipara is associated with CTR1 and ATP7B transcriptional regulation
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Copper (Cu) accumulation and regulation of key-genes involved in Cu homeostasis were evaluated in freshwater- and saltwater-acclimated guppies Poecilia vivipara. Fish were exposed (96h) to environmentally relevant concentrations of dissolved Cu (0, 5.0, 9.0 and 20.0μg/L). In freshwater guppies, gill and liver Cu accumulation was dependent on Cu concentration in the exposure medium. In saltwater guppies, this dependence was observed only in the gut. These findings indicate that Cu accumulation was salinity- and tissue-dependent. Key genes involved in Cu metabolism were sequenced for the first time in P. vivipara. Transcripts coding for the high-affinity copper transporter (CTR1) and copper-transporting ATPase (ATP7B) were identified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gene sequencing. The full-length CTR1 open reading frame (1560bp) and a partial ATP7B (690bp) were discovered. Predicted amino acid sequences shared high identities with the CTR1 of Fundulus heteroclitus (81%) and the ATP7B of Sparus aurata (87%). Basal transcriptional levels addressed by RT-qPCR in control fish indicate that CTR1 and ATP7B was highly transcribed in liver of freshwater guppies while CTR1 was highly transcribed in gut of saltwater guppies. This could explain the higher Cu accumulation observed in liver of freshwater guppies and in gut of saltwater guppies, because CTR1 is involved in Cu uptake. Reduced gill mRNA expression of CTR1 was observed in freshwater guppies exposed to 20.0μg/L Cu and in saltwater guppies exposed to 5.0μg/L Cu. In turn, reduced mRNA expression of gut ATP7B was observed in freshwater and salt water guppies exposed to 9.0 and 20.0μg/L Cu. Liver CTR1 and ATP7B transcription were not affected by Cu exposure. These findings suggest that gill CTR1 and gut ATP7B are down-regulated to limit Cu absorption after exposure to dissolved Cu, while liver CTR1 and ATP7B levels are maintained to allow Cu storage and detoxification. In conclusion, findings reported here indicate that Cu accumulation in the euryhaline guppy P. vivipara is tissue specific and dependent on water salinity. They also suggest that Cu homeostasis involves a differential transcriptional regulation of the newly identified Cu transporters, CTR1 and ATP7B.