, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 847–859 | Cite as

Analyses of gene expression and physiological changes in Microcystis aeruginosa reveal the phytotoxicities of three environmental pollutants

  • Haifeng Qian
  • Xiangjie Pan
  • Jun Chen
  • Dongming Zhou
  • Zuoguo Chen
  • Lin Zhang
  • Zhengwei FuEmail author


When the concentrations of ampicillin (Amp), atrazine (Atr) and cadmium chloride (Cd) reach excessive quantities, they become toxic to aquatic organisms. Due to the acceleration of the industrialization and the intensification of human activities, the incidence and concentrations of these types of pollutants in aquatic systems are increasing. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the short-term effects of Amp, Atr and Cd on the physiological indices and gene expression levels in Microcystis aeruginosa. These three pollutants significantly induced antioxidant activity but continuously accelerated the cellular oxidative damage in microalgae, which suggests an imbalance between the oxidant and the antioxidant systems. Amp, Atr and Cd also decreased the transcription of psaB, psbD1 and rbcL; the lowest transcription of these genes was only 38.1, 23.7 and 7% of the control, respectively. These three pollutants affected nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) uptake by inhibiting the transcription of N or P absorbing and transporting related genes, and they down regulated the transcription of microcystin-related genes, which caused a decrease of microcystin levels; and the lowest level of microcystin was only 42.4% of the control. Our results suggest that these pollutants may cause pleiotropic effects on algal growth and physiological and biochemical reactions, and they may even affect secondary metabolic processes.


Microcystis aeruginosa Ampicillin Atrazine Cadmium chloride Gene transcription Microcystin 



This work was financially supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2010CB126100), the Natural Science Foundation of China (21077093), the Qianjiang talents project of technology office in Zhejiang province (2010R10033), and the Opening project of key laboratory of biogeography and bioresource in arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haifeng Qian
    • 1
  • Xiangjie Pan
    • 1
  • Jun Chen
    • 1
  • Dongming Zhou
    • 1
  • Zuoguo Chen
    • 1
  • Lin Zhang
    • 1
  • Zhengwei Fu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Biological and Environmental EngineeringZhejiang University of TechnologyHangzhouChina

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