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Use of a 15 k gene microarray to determine gene expression changes in response to acute and chronic methylmercury exposure in the fathead minnow Pimephales promelas Rafinesque

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This study describes the use of a 15 000 gene microarray developed for the toxicological model species, Pimephales promelas, in investigating the impact of acute and chronic methylmercury exposures in male gonad and liver tissues. The results show significant differences in the individual genes that were differentially expressed in response to each treatment. In liver, a total of 650 genes exhibited significantly (P < 0ยท05) altered expression with greater than two-fold differences from the controls in response to acute exposure and a total of 267 genes were differentially expressed in response to chronic exposure. A majority of these genes were downregulated rather than upregulated. Fewer genes were altered in gonad than in liver at both timepoints. A total of 212 genes were differentially expressed in response to acute exposure and 155 genes were altered in response to chronic exposure. Despite the differences in individual genes expressed across treatments, the functional categories that altered genes were associated with showed some similarities. Of interest in light of other studies involving the effects of methylmercury on fish, several genes associated with apoptosis were upregulated in response to both acute and chronic exposures. Induction of apoptosis has been associated with effects on reproduction seen in the previous studies. This study demonstrates the utility of microarray analysis for investigations of the physiological effects of toxicants as well as the time-course of effects that may take place. In addition, it is the first publication to demonstrate the use of this new 15 000 gene microarray for fish biology and toxicology.

Keywords: apoptosis; fathead minnow; genomics; methylmercury; microarray; toxicogenomics

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: EcoArray, 12085 Research Drive, Alachua, FL 32615, U.S.A 2: Columbia Environmental Research Center, USGS, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, MO 65201, U.S.A 3: Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, U.S.A 4: Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI 54601, U.S.A

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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