Comparative transcriptomic responses to chronic cadmium, fluoranthene, and atrazine exposure in Lumbricus rubellus

C Svendsen, J Owen, P Kille, J Wren, M J Jonker, B A Headley, A J Morgan, M Blaxter, S R Stürzenbaum, P K Hankard, L J Lister, D J Spurgeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Transcriptional responses of a soil-dwelling organism (the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus) to three chemicals, cadmium (Cd), fluoranthene (FA), and atrazine (AZ), were measured following chronic exposure, with the aim of identifying the nature of any shared transcriptional response. Principal component analysis indicated full or partial separation of control and exposed samples for each compound but not for the composite set of all control and exposed samples. Partial least-squares discriminant analysis allowed separation of the control and exposed samples for each chemical and also for the composite data set, suggesting a common transcriptional response to exposure. Genes identified as changing in expression level (by the least stringent test for significance) following exposure to two chemicals indicated a substantial number of common genes (> 127). The three compound overlapping gene set, however, comprised only 25 genes. We suggest that the low commonality in transcriptional response may be linked to the chronic concentrations (approximately 10% EC50) and chronic duration (28 days) used. Annotations of the three compound overlapping gene set indicated that genes from pathways most often associated with responses to environmental stress, such as heat shock, phase I and II metabolism, antioxidant defense, and cation balance, were not represented. The strongest annotation signature was for genes important in mitochondrial function and energy metabolism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4208-14
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Atrazine
  • Cadmium
  • Fluorenes
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Herbicides
  • Oligochaeta
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Transcription, Genetic


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