Distinct expression profiles of stress defense and DNA repair genes in Daphnia pulex exposed to cadmium, zinc, and quantum dots

Song Tang, Yonggan Wu, Caitlin N. Ryan, Shuangying Yu, Guangqiu Qin, Donn S. Edwards, Gregory D. Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


The ever-increasing production and use of nanocrystaline semiconductors (Quantum dots; QDs) will inevitably result in increased appearance of these nanomaterials in the aquatic environment. However, the behavior and potential toxicity of heavy metal constituted nanoparticulates in aquatic invertebrates is largely unknown, especially with regard to molecular responses. The freshwater crustacean Daphnia pulex is a well-suited toxicological and ecological model to study molecular responses to environmental stressors. In this study, D. pulex were exposed for 48h to sublethal doses of QDs (25% and 50% of LC50) with differing spectral properties (CdTe and CdSe/ZnS QDs) and Cd and Zn salts. Our data suggest that acute exposure to both CdSO4 and Cd-based QDs leads to Cd uptake in vivo, which was biologically supported by the observation of increased expression of metallothionein (MT-1). Furthermore, Cd, Zn, and CdSe/ZnS QDs induced different patterns of gene expression regarding stress defense and DNA repair, which furthers our knowledge regarding which response pathways are affected by nanoparticulate forms of metals versus ionic forms in aquatic crustaceans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015



  • Crustacean
  • Heat shock proteins
  • Metallothionein
  • Nanoparticles
  • Reference genes
  • Superoxide dismutase

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