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Accession IconSRP064537

Methylmercury (MeHg) induced Transgenerational Inheritance of Retinal Transcriptome in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) [retina]

Organism Icon Danio rerio
Sample Icon 12 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge IconIllumina HiSeq 2000

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Description
Methylmercury (MeHg) is a ubiquitous environmental toxicant that is often detected in the tissues of fish-eating species. It has been well established that prenatal exposure to MeHg can lead to widespread brain damage and impaired neurological development resulting in defects ranging from severe cerebral palsy and cognitive deficits to impaired motor and sensory function. A wide range of environmental toxicants have been shown to induce transgenerational inheritance of diseases via changes in DNA methylation—a well-known epigenetic modification. Our previous research has demonstrated that developmental MeHg exposure may yield transgenerational inheritance of neurological dysfunction in adult F3-lineage zebrafish via quantitative neurobehavioral assays that evaluated the visual startle response, retinal electrophysiology, and locomotor function. The objective of the current study was to examine the correlation between neurobehavioral phenotypes and the transcriptome activity in the brain and retina of F3 zebrafish by RNA sequencing (RNAseq). Transcriptomic analyses of F3 generation MeHg-treated zebrafish (compared to control) revealed significant gene dysregulation in both the brain and retina. There were 1648 and 138 differentially expressed genes in the retina and brain, respectively (FDR <0.05). Thirty-five genes were commonly dysregulated in both organs. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed significantly enriched pathways including: neurodevelopment, visual functions, phototransduction, and motor movement. Moreover, commonly dysregulated genes were associated with circadian rhythm and metabolic pathways, as well as arginine and proline metabolism. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of a transgenerational transcriptome induced by ancestral developmental exposure to MeHg in any species. If the transgenerational phenotypes, transcriptome, homologous biomarkers, or similar molecular pathways hold true for human populations, our findings have significant impact on global public health in terms of identifying the susceptible populations using biomarkers and preventing transgenerational inheritance of MeHg-induced neurobehavioral deficits. Overall design: Eggs of EK strain zebrafish were exposed to methylmercury (0.0 and 0.03µM with ethanol as the vehicle) for 24 hours, then raised normally. This represents the F1 generation of each respective lineage. F2 and F3 generations were created for each lineage. The F2 and F3 generations were never exposed to exogenous MeHg. The retinas were collected from F3 generation fish of each lineage. 12 samples of total RNA isolated from adult zebrafish retina were analyzed. There were 6 biological replicates for vehicle control (0 µM MeHg) and exposure (0.03 µM MeHg) groups.
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