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Molecular Effects of Inorganic and Methyl Mercury in Aquatic Primary Producers: Comparing Impact to A Macrophyte and A Green Microalga in Controlled Conditions

Department F.-A. Forel for Environmental and Aquatic Sciences, University of Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland
Unité Stress Environnementaux et BIOSurveillance des Milieux Aquatiques UMR-I 02 (SEBIO), Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne, F-51687 Reims, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2018, 8(11), 393;
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 10 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 29 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury Biogeochemical Cycle in A Changing World)
Mercury (Hg) remains hazardous in aquatic environments, because of its toxicity and high biomagnification in food webs. In phytoplankton and macrophytes, Hg compounds at high concentration have been reported to affect the growth, photosynthesis, and nutrient metabolism, as well as to induce oxidative stress and damage. Here, we reviewed the recent knowledge gained on cellular toxicity of inorganic and methyl Hg (IHg; MeHg) in aquatic primary producers at more relevant environmental concentrations, with a particular focus on omics data. In addition, we compared a case study conducted with transcriptomic on the green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the macrophyte Elodea nuttallii. At lower concentrations, IHg and MeHg influenced similar gene categories, including energy metabolism, cell structure, and nutrition. In addition, genes involved in the cell motility in the microalgae, and in hormone metabolism in the macrophyte were regulated. At equivalent intracellular concentration, MeHg regulated more genes than IHg supporting a higher molecular impact of the former. At the organism level in C. reinhardtii, MeHg increased reactive oxygen species, while both IHg and MeHg increased photosynthesis efficiency, whereas in E. nuttallii MeHg induced anti-oxidant responses and IHg reduced chlorophyll content. Data showed differences, according to species and characteristics of life cycle, in responses at the gene and cellular levels, but evidenced a higher molecular impact of MeHg than IHg and different cellular toxicity pathways in aquatic primary producers. View Full-Text
Keywords: macrophyte; mercury; microalgae; proteomic; transcriptomic macrophyte; mercury; microalgae; proteomic; transcriptomic
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Beauvais-Flück, R.; Slaveykova, V.I.; Cosio, C. Molecular Effects of Inorganic and Methyl Mercury in Aquatic Primary Producers: Comparing Impact to A Macrophyte and A Green Microalga in Controlled Conditions. Geosciences 2018, 8, 393.

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