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Genome-wide association analysis of tolerance to methylmercury toxicity in Drosophila implicates myogenic and neuromuscular developmental pathways.

Montgomery SL, Vorojeikina D, Huang W, Mackay TF, Anholt RR, Rand MD - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: We found significant genetic variation in the effects of MeHg on development, measured by eclosion rate, giving a broad sense heritability of 0.86.We found that caffeine counteracts the deleterious effects of MeHg in the majority of lines, and there is significant genetic variance in the magnitude of this effect, with a broad sense heritability of 0.80.Furthermore, our observations that caffeine can ameliorate the toxic effects of MeHg show that nutritional factors and dietary manipulations may offer protection against the deleterious effects of MeHg exposure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Methylmercury (MeHg) is a persistent environmental toxin present in seafood that can compromise the developing nervous system in humans. The effects of MeHg toxicity varies among individuals, despite similar levels of exposure, indicating that genetic differences contribute to MeHg susceptibility. To examine how genetic variation impacts MeHg tolerance, we assessed developmental tolerance to MeHg using the sequenced, inbred lines of the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP). We found significant genetic variation in the effects of MeHg on development, measured by eclosion rate, giving a broad sense heritability of 0.86. To investigate the influence of dietary factors, we measured MeHg toxicity with caffeine supplementation in the DGRP lines. We found that caffeine counteracts the deleterious effects of MeHg in the majority of lines, and there is significant genetic variance in the magnitude of this effect, with a broad sense heritability of 0.80. We performed genome-wide association (GWA) analysis for both traits, and identified candidate genes that fall into several gene ontology categories, with enrichment for genes involved in muscle and neuromuscular development. Overexpression of glutamate-cysteine ligase, a MeHg protective enzyme, in a muscle-specific manner leads to a robust rescue of eclosion of flies reared on MeHg food. Conversely, mutations in kirre, a pivotal myogenic gene identified in our GWA analyses, modulate tolerance to MeHg during development in accordance with kirre expression levels. Finally, we observe disruptions of indirect flight muscle morphogenesis in MeHg-exposed pupae. Since the pathways for muscle development are evolutionarily conserved, it is likely that the effects of MeHg observed in Drosophila can be generalized across phyla, implicating muscle as an additional hitherto unrecognized target for MeHg toxicity. Furthermore, our observations that caffeine can ameliorate the toxic effects of MeHg show that nutritional factors and dietary manipulations may offer protection against the deleterious effects of MeHg exposure.

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Genetic variation in MeHg tolerance during development.176 DGRP lines were assayed in triplicate for eclosion on media containing 0, 5, 10 and 15 µM MeHg. A cumulative index (Eclosion Index) was generated by summing the percent eclosion on 5, 10 and 15 µM MeHg food for each strain (see methods). The histogram represents a rank ordering of the eclosion index for each of the DGRP lines.
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pone-0110375-g001: Genetic variation in MeHg tolerance during development.176 DGRP lines were assayed in triplicate for eclosion on media containing 0, 5, 10 and 15 µM MeHg. A cumulative index (Eclosion Index) was generated by summing the percent eclosion on 5, 10 and 15 µM MeHg food for each strain (see methods). The histogram represents a rank ordering of the eclosion index for each of the DGRP lines.

Mentions: To characterize natural genetic variation in tolerance and susceptibility to MeHg during development, we examined 176 DGRP lines in an eclosion assay on four concentrations ([MeHg] = 0, 5, 10, 15 µM, Table S3) of MeHg-containing food. We found substantial phenotypic variation in susceptibility to MeHg as measured by an eclosion index (see Materials and Methods for definition) across the DGRP lines, ranging from 0 to 244.6 (Fig.1). ANOVA for variation in MeHg tolerance across the four concentrations of MeHg showed significant variation for Line and the Dose × Line interaction term (Table 1). The broad sense heritability (H2) was 0.86, indicating a strong genetic component to variation in MeHg tolerance, which provides a basis for GWA analysis (Table 1). To explore dietary modulation of MeHg toxicity, we examined the effects of caffeine co-administration (Fig. 2A, B, Table S3), which has previously been shown to attenuate MeHg developmental toxicity in a limited set of fly lines [26], [27]. Addition of 2 mM caffeine to 10 µM MeHg supplemented food resulted in increased MeHg tolerance in the majority of the lines (Figure 2A, B), with only 12 lines exhibiting decreased MeHg tolerance with caffeine supplementation (Fig 2B). The variation in the modulating effect of caffeine can be seen clearly by subtraction of the eclosion rate on MeHg alone from that on MeHg+caffeine (Figure 2B). The modulating effect of caffeine on MeHg exposure varies significantly across the lines with H2 = 0.80 (Table 2).


Genome-wide association analysis of tolerance to methylmercury toxicity in Drosophila implicates myogenic and neuromuscular developmental pathways.

Montgomery SL, Vorojeikina D, Huang W, Mackay TF, Anholt RR, Rand MD - PLoS ONE (2014)

Genetic variation in MeHg tolerance during development.176 DGRP lines were assayed in triplicate for eclosion on media containing 0, 5, 10 and 15 µM MeHg. A cumulative index (Eclosion Index) was generated by summing the percent eclosion on 5, 10 and 15 µM MeHg food for each strain (see methods). The histogram represents a rank ordering of the eclosion index for each of the DGRP lines.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4215868&req=5

pone-0110375-g001: Genetic variation in MeHg tolerance during development.176 DGRP lines were assayed in triplicate for eclosion on media containing 0, 5, 10 and 15 µM MeHg. A cumulative index (Eclosion Index) was generated by summing the percent eclosion on 5, 10 and 15 µM MeHg food for each strain (see methods). The histogram represents a rank ordering of the eclosion index for each of the DGRP lines.
Mentions: To characterize natural genetic variation in tolerance and susceptibility to MeHg during development, we examined 176 DGRP lines in an eclosion assay on four concentrations ([MeHg] = 0, 5, 10, 15 µM, Table S3) of MeHg-containing food. We found substantial phenotypic variation in susceptibility to MeHg as measured by an eclosion index (see Materials and Methods for definition) across the DGRP lines, ranging from 0 to 244.6 (Fig.1). ANOVA for variation in MeHg tolerance across the four concentrations of MeHg showed significant variation for Line and the Dose × Line interaction term (Table 1). The broad sense heritability (H2) was 0.86, indicating a strong genetic component to variation in MeHg tolerance, which provides a basis for GWA analysis (Table 1). To explore dietary modulation of MeHg toxicity, we examined the effects of caffeine co-administration (Fig. 2A, B, Table S3), which has previously been shown to attenuate MeHg developmental toxicity in a limited set of fly lines [26], [27]. Addition of 2 mM caffeine to 10 µM MeHg supplemented food resulted in increased MeHg tolerance in the majority of the lines (Figure 2A, B), with only 12 lines exhibiting decreased MeHg tolerance with caffeine supplementation (Fig 2B). The variation in the modulating effect of caffeine can be seen clearly by subtraction of the eclosion rate on MeHg alone from that on MeHg+caffeine (Figure 2B). The modulating effect of caffeine on MeHg exposure varies significantly across the lines with H2 = 0.80 (Table 2).

Bottom Line: We found significant genetic variation in the effects of MeHg on development, measured by eclosion rate, giving a broad sense heritability of 0.86.We found that caffeine counteracts the deleterious effects of MeHg in the majority of lines, and there is significant genetic variance in the magnitude of this effect, with a broad sense heritability of 0.80.Furthermore, our observations that caffeine can ameliorate the toxic effects of MeHg show that nutritional factors and dietary manipulations may offer protection against the deleterious effects of MeHg exposure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Methylmercury (MeHg) is a persistent environmental toxin present in seafood that can compromise the developing nervous system in humans. The effects of MeHg toxicity varies among individuals, despite similar levels of exposure, indicating that genetic differences contribute to MeHg susceptibility. To examine how genetic variation impacts MeHg tolerance, we assessed developmental tolerance to MeHg using the sequenced, inbred lines of the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP). We found significant genetic variation in the effects of MeHg on development, measured by eclosion rate, giving a broad sense heritability of 0.86. To investigate the influence of dietary factors, we measured MeHg toxicity with caffeine supplementation in the DGRP lines. We found that caffeine counteracts the deleterious effects of MeHg in the majority of lines, and there is significant genetic variance in the magnitude of this effect, with a broad sense heritability of 0.80. We performed genome-wide association (GWA) analysis for both traits, and identified candidate genes that fall into several gene ontology categories, with enrichment for genes involved in muscle and neuromuscular development. Overexpression of glutamate-cysteine ligase, a MeHg protective enzyme, in a muscle-specific manner leads to a robust rescue of eclosion of flies reared on MeHg food. Conversely, mutations in kirre, a pivotal myogenic gene identified in our GWA analyses, modulate tolerance to MeHg during development in accordance with kirre expression levels. Finally, we observe disruptions of indirect flight muscle morphogenesis in MeHg-exposed pupae. Since the pathways for muscle development are evolutionarily conserved, it is likely that the effects of MeHg observed in Drosophila can be generalized across phyla, implicating muscle as an additional hitherto unrecognized target for MeHg toxicity. Furthermore, our observations that caffeine can ameliorate the toxic effects of MeHg show that nutritional factors and dietary manipulations may offer protection against the deleterious effects of MeHg exposure.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus