Impacts of life-time exposure of arsenic, cadmium and fluoranthene on the earthworms’ L. rubellus global DNA methylation as detected by msAFLP

Rasnaca, Ilze; Kille, Peter; Newbold, Lindsay K.; Spurgeon, David J.. 2022 Impacts of life-time exposure of arsenic, cadmium and fluoranthene on the earthworms’ L. rubellus global DNA methylation as detected by msAFLP. Genes, 13 (5), 770. 11, pp.

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This study reports on the effects of long-term exposure to the metals arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon fluoranthene on the survival, growth, development and DNA methylation status of the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus. Exposures to the three chemicals were conducted over their whole juvenile developmental period from egg to adult. Significant effects on one or more measured endpoints were found for all three chemicals. Arsenic had no effect on survival, but had a significant effect on growth rates at concentrations of 36 mg/kg or higher and also slowed the rate of maturation. Cadmium significantly reduced juvenile survival at 500 mg/kg, juvenile growth at 148 mg/kg and maturation rates at all tested concentrations. Fluoranthene had no effect on survival or the developmental period, but did significantly reduce growth rates at 800 mg/kg. Effects at these concentrations are consistent with the known effects of these three chemicals on earthworms from previous studies conducted mainly with Eisenia fetida. Both As and Cd had no effect on DNA methylation patterning in earthworms measured at the end of the exposure. Fluoranthene was shown, for the first time. to have an effect on a species’ DNA methylation levels. These results suggest that apical phenotypic changes for As and Cd are not necessarily associated with changes in DNA methylation profiles. However, exposure to the organic chemical fluoranthene influenced DNA methylation patterns, suggesting wider remodelling of the epigenome for this chemical.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2073-4425
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: pollution, epigenetic, methylome, phenotypic plasticity
NORA Subject Terms: Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 18 Jul 2022 12:07 +0 (UTC)

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