Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Transcriptional and cellular responses of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to perfluoroalkyl phosphonic acids.

PMID 25621396


Perfluoroalkyl phosphonic acids (PFPAs), a new class of perfluoroalkyl substances used primarily in the industrial sector as surfactants, were recently detected in surface water and wastewater treatment plant effluents. Toxicological effects of PFPAs have as yet not been investigated in aquatic organisms. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of perfluorooctylphosphonic acid (C8-PFPA) and perfluorodecylphosphonic acid (C10-PFPA) exposure (31-250μg/L) on Chlamydomonas reinhardtii using genomic (qRT-PCR), biochemical (reactive oxygen species production (ROS) and lipid peroxidation), and physiological (cellular viability) indicators. After 72h of exposure, no differences were observed in cellular viability for any of the two perfluorochemicals. However, increase in ROS concentrations (36% and 25.6% at 125 and 250μg/L, respectively) and lipid peroxidation (35.5% and 35.7% at 125 and 250μg/L, respectively) was observed following exposure to C10-PFPA. C8-PFPA exposure did not impact ROS production and lipid peroxidation in algae. To get insights into the molecular response and modes of action of PFPA toxicity, qRT-PCR-based assays were performed to analyze the transcription of genes related to antioxidant responses including superoxide dismutase (SOD-1), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), catalase (CAT), glutathione S-transferase (GST), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX I). Genomic analyses revealed that the transcription of CAT and APX I was up-regulated for all the C10-PFPA concentrations. In addition, PFPAs were quantified in St. Lawrence River surface water samples and detected at concentrations ranging from 250 to 850pg/L for C8-PFPA and 380 to 650pg/L for C10-PFPA. This study supports the prevalence of PFPAs in the aquatic environment and suggests potential impacts of PFPA exposure on the antioxidant defensive system in C. reinhardtii.