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Scientific article
Open access
English

Molecular Effects, Speciation, and Competition of Inorganic and Methyl Mercury in the Aquatic Plant Elodea nuttallii

Published inEnvironmental Science & Technology, vol. 52, no. 15, p. 8876-8884
Publication date2018
Abstract

Mercury (Hg) remains hazardous in aquatic environments because of its biomagnification in food webs. Nonetheless, Hg uptake and impact in primary producers is still poorly understood. Here, we compared the cellular toxicity of inorganic and methyl Hg (IHg and MeHg, respectively) in the aquatic plant Elodea nuttallii. IHg and MeHg regulated contigs involved in similar categories (e.g., energy metabolism, development, transport, secondary metabolism), but MeHg regulated more contigs, supporting a higher molecular impact than IHg. At the organism level, MeHg induced antioxidants, while IHg decreased chlorophyll content. The uptake of Hg and expression of a subset of contigs was subsequently studied in complex media. Measured uptake pointed to a contrasted impact of cell walls and copper (Cu) on IHg and MeHg. Using a speciation modeling, differences in uptake were attributed to the differences in affinities of IHg and MeHg to organic matter in relation to Cu speciation. We also identified a distinct gene expression signature for IHg, MeHg, and Cu, further supporting different molecular toxicity of these trace elements. Our data provided fundamental knowledge on IHg and MeHg uptake in a key aquatic primary producer and confirmed the potential of transcriptomics to assess Hg exposure in environmentally realistic systems.

Keywords
  • Copper
  • Dissolved organic matter (DOM)
  • Pigment
  • Redox
  • RNA-sequencing
  • Speciation
Citation (ISO format)
BEAUVAIS-FLUECK, Rebecca et al. Molecular Effects, Speciation, and Competition of Inorganic and Methyl Mercury in the Aquatic Plant <i>Elodea nuttallii</i>. In: Environmental Science & Technology, 2018, vol. 52, n° 15, p. 8876–8884. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b02124
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Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0013-936X
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