Tian, J., Hu, J., Liu, G., Yin, H., Chen, M., Miao, P., Bai, P., Yin, J. (2018) Altered Gene expression of ABC transporters, nuclear receptors and oxidative stress signaling in zebrafish embryos exposed to CdTe quantum dots. Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987). 244:588-599.
Adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, including P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and multi-resistance associated proteins (Mrps), have been considered important participants in the self-protection of zebrafish embryos against environmental pollutants, but their possible involvement in the efflux and detoxification of quantum dots (QDs), as well as their regulation mechanism are currently unclear. In this work, gene expression alterations of ABC transporters, nuclear receptors, and oxidative stress signaling in zebrafish embryos after the treatment of mercaptopropionic acid (MPA)CdTe QDs and MPA-CdSCdTe QDs were investigated. It was observed that both QDs caused concentration-dependent delayed hatching effects and the subsequent induction of transporters like mrp1&2 in zebrafish embryos, indicating the protective role of corresponding proteins against CdTe QDs. Accompanying these alterations, expressions of nuclear receptors including the pregnane X receptor (pxr), aryl hydrocarbon receptor (ahr) 1b, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (ppar)-β were induced by QDs in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Moreover, elevated oxidative stress, reflected by the reduction of glutathione (GSH) level and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities, as well as the dramatic induction of nuclear factor E2 related factor (nrf) 2, was also found. More importantly, alterations of pxr and nrf2 were more pronounced than that of mrps, and these receptors exhibited an excellent correlation with delayed hatching rate in the same embryos (R2 > 0.8). Results from this analysis demonstrated that the induction of mrp1 and mrp2 could be important components for the detoxification of QDs in zebrafish embryos. These transporters could be modulated by nuclear receptors and oxidative stress signaling. In addition, up-regulation of pxr and nrf2 could be developed as toxic biomarkers of CdTe QDs.