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Differential sensitivity of snail embryos to cadmium: relation to age and metallothionein gene expression


The aim of this study was to determine whether cadmium (Cd) sensitivity of Cantareus aspersus embryos is age-dependent and influenced by metallothionein (MT) gene expression. Hatching success and the expression of three MT isoform genes (Ca-CdMT, Ca-CuMT and Ca-Cd/CuMT) were measured in embryos exposed to increasing Cd concentrations for 24 h starting on the sixth day of development. Isoform gene expression was quantified on days 7 and 12 after exposure. Results were compared to those of embryos exposed to the same conditions as above, but from the beginning of embryogenesis (day 0). Transcription of the Cd-specific MT gene (Ca-CdMT) was observed from the first day of development, whereas the two other genes did not respond to Cd at all. Overall, Cd sensitivity of embryos decreased with increasing age of development, as assessed by age-dependent increase of EC50 values for hatching rate, and increasing Cd threshold concentrations for Ca-CdMT expression.

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The authors warmly thank the Conseil Régional de Franche-Comté, the Ecole Doctorale Environnement-Santé, the University of Franche-Comté and the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF project No. P 23635-B20 to R.D.) for funding this work.

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Correspondence to Annette de Vaufleury.

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Responsible editor: Robert Duran

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Baurand, PE., Dallinger, R., Niederwanger, M. et al. Differential sensitivity of snail embryos to cadmium: relation to age and metallothionein gene expression. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 3062–3067 (2016).

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  • Early life stages
  • Detoxification
  • Cantareus aspersus
  • Embryotoxicity