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Evaluation of gene expression of different molecular biomarkers of stress response as an effect of copper exposure on the earthworm EIsenia Andrei

Abstract

The paper reports the results of a laboratory test on the bioaccumulation and toxicological effects of sub-lethal soil concentration of copper, a widely used fungicide in organic farming, on DNA damage, a critical marker increasingly used in ecotoxicology in the earthworm Eisenia andrei. In the same experimental setting we evaluated gene expression of classical biomarker of stress induced by xenobiotic. [Heat Shock Protein 70 (HSP70) and Metallothionein (MET)], as well as genes coding for enzymes involved in detoxification of reactive oxygen species [Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT)]. Additionally, expression of genes involved in the immune response were investigated: a Toll-like receptor (TLR), a receptor with cytolytic activity named Cytolytic Factor (CCF) and two antimicrobial peptides, fetidin (FET) and lysenin (LYS). Results showed significant time-dependent bioaccumulation of Cu and DNA damage at concentrations remarkably lower than those found in most agricultural soils worldwide. MET was increased as was FET and TLR. The present work gives new insights into the mechanisms of sub-lethal toxicity of copper as an environmental pollutant and in the identification of novel sub-lethal biomarkers of cellular response to the stressor such as immune response genes.

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Correspondence to Luca Tiano.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors that require approval by the ethical committee. In fact according to present regulation studies on invertebrates, such as Eisenia andrei do not need ethical authorization.

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Mincarelli, L., Tiano, L., Craft, J. et al. Evaluation of gene expression of different molecular biomarkers of stress response as an effect of copper exposure on the earthworm EIsenia Andrei. Ecotoxicology 28, 938–948 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10646-019-02093-3

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Keywords

  • Copper
  • Earthworms
  • DNA damage
  • Stress response genes
  • Pattern recognition receptors