Ecotoxicology and environmental safety

A SELDI-TOF approach to ecotoxicology: comparative profiling of low molecular weight proteins from a marine diatom exposed to CdSe/ZnS quantum dots.

PMID 26323371


Quantum dots (QDs), namely semiconductor nanocrystals, due to their particular optical and electronic properties, have growing applications in device technology, biotechnology and biomedical fields. Nevertheless, the possible threat to human health and the environment have attracted increasing attention as the production and applications of QDs increases rapidly while standard evaluation of safety lags. In the present study we performed proteomic analyses, by means of 2D gel electrophoresis and Surface Enhanced Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometry (SELDI-TOF-MS). We aimed to identify potential biomarkers of exposure to CdSe/ZnS quantum dots. The marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum exposed to 2.5nM QDs was used as a model system. Both 2DE and SELDI showed the presence of differentially expressed proteins. By Principal Component Analysis (PCA) we were able to show that the differentially expressed proteins can discriminate between exposed and not exposed cells. Furthermore, a protein profile specific for exposed cells was obtained by SELDI analysis. To our knowledge, this is the first example of the application of SELDI technology to the analysis of microorganisms used as biological sentinel model of marine environmental pollution.