Impact of bisphenol A (BPA) on early embryo development in the marine mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis: Effects on gene transcription

Bisphenol A (BPA), a monomer used in plastic manufacturing, is weakly estrogenic and a potential endocrine disruptor in mammals. Although it degrades quickly, it is pseudo-persistent in the environment because of continual inputs, with reported concentrations in aquatic environments between 0.0005 and 12 μg/L. BPA represents a potential concern for aquatic ecosystems, as shown by its reproductive and developmental effects in aquatic vertebrates.

In invertebrates, endocrine-related effects of BPA were observed in different species and experimental conditions, with often conflicting results, indicating that the sensitivity to this compound can vary considerably among related taxa. In the marine mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis BPA was recently shown to affect early development at environmental concentrations. In this work, the possible effects of BPA on mussel embryos were investigated at the molecular level by evaluating transcription of 13 genes, selected on the basis of their biological functions in adult mussels. Gene expression was first evaluated in trocophorae and D-veligers (24 and 48 h post fertilization) grown in physiological conditions, in comparison with unfertilized eggs. Basal expressions showed a general up-regulation during development, with distinct transcript levels in trocophorae and D-veligers. Exposure of fertilized eggs to BPA (10 μg/L) induced a general upregulation at 24 h pf, followed by down regulation at 48 h pf. Mytilus Estrogen Receptors, serotonin receptor and genes involved in biomineralization (Carbonic Anydrase and Extrapallial Protein) were the most affected by BPA exposure. At 48 h pf, changes in gene expression were associated with irregularities in shell formation, as shown by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), indicating that the formation of the first shelled embryo, a key step in mussel development, represents a sensitive target for BPA. Similar results were obtained with the natural estrogen 17β-estradiol. The results demonstrate that BPA and E2 can affect Mytilus early development through dysregulation of gene transcription.

Teresa Balbi, Silvia Franzellitti, Rita Fabbri, Michele Montagna, Elena Fabbri, Laura Canesi, Environmental Pollution, Volume 218, November 2016, Pages 996–1004

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