Composti organostannici nell'ambiente marino e membrane biologiche: risposte molecolari e biochimiche nei molluschi bivalvi

Nesci, Salvatore (2010) Composti organostannici nell'ambiente marino e membrane biologiche: risposte molecolari e biochimiche nei molluschi bivalvi, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biochimica, 22 Ciclo.
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Organotin compounds are worldwide diffused environmental contaminants, mainly as consequence of their extensive past use as biocides in antifouling paints. In spite of law restrictions, due to unwanted effects, organotin still persist in waters, being poorly degraded, easily resuspended from sediments and bioaccumulated in exposed organisms. The widespread toxicity and the possible threat to humans, likely to be organotin-exposed through contaminated seafood, make organotin interactions with biomolecules an intriguing biochemical topic, apart from a matter of ecotoxicological concern. Among organotins, tributyltin (TBT) is long known as the most dangerous and abundant chemical species in the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its amphiphilic nature, provided by three lipophilic arms and an electrophilic tin core, TBT can be easily incorporated in biomembranes and affect their functionality. Accordingly, it is known as a membrane-active toxicant and a mitochondrial poison. Up to now the molecular action modes of TBT are still partially unclear and poorly explored in bivalve mollusks, even if the latter play a not neglectable role in the marine trophic chain and efficiently accumulate organotins. The bivalve mollusk Mytilus galloprovincialis, selected for all experiments, is widely cultivated in the Mediterranean and currently used in ecotoxicological studies. Most work of this thesis was devoted to TBT effects on mussel mitochondria, but other possible targets of TBT were also considered. A great deal of literature points out TBT as endocrine disrupter and the masculinization of female marine gastropods, the so-called imposex, currently signals environmental organotin contamination. The hormonal status of TBT-exposed mussels and the possible interaction between hormones and contaminants in modulating microsomal hydroxilases, involved in steroid hormone and organotin detoxification, were the research topics in the period spent in Barcelona (Marco Polo fellowship). The variegated experimental approach, which consisted of two exposure experiments and in vitro tests, and the choice of selected tissues of M. galloprovincialis, the midgut gland for mitochondrial and microsomal preparations for subsequent laboratory assays and the gonads for the endocrine evaluations, aimed at drawing a clarifying pattern on the molecular mechanisms involved in organotin toxicity. TBT was promptly incorporated in midgut gland mitochondria of adult mussels exposed to 0.5 and 1.0 μg/L TBT, and partially degraded to DBT. TBT incorporation was accompanied by a decrease in the mitochondrial oligomycin-sensitive Mg-ATPase activity, while the coexistent oligomycin-insensitive fraction was unaffected. Mitochondrial fatty acids showed a clear rise in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids after 120 hr of TBT exposure, mainly referable to an increase in 22:6 level. TBT was also shown to inhibit the ATP hydrolytic activity of the mitochondrial F1FO complex in vitro and to promote an apparent loss of oligomycin sensitivity at higher than 1.0 μM concentration. The complex dose-dependent profile of the inhibition curve lead to the hypothesis of multiple TBT binding sites. At lower than 1.0 μM TBT concentrations the non competitive enzyme inhibition by TBT was ascribed to the non covalent binding of TBT to FO subunit. On the other hand the observed drop in oligomycin sensitivity at higher than 1.0 μM TBT could be related to the onset of covalent bonds involving thiolic groups on the enzyme structure, apparently reached only at high TBT levels. The mitochondrial respiratory complexes were in vitro affected by TBT, apart from the cytocrome c oxidase which was apparently refractory to the contaminant. The most striking inhibitory effect was shown on complex I, and ascribed to possible covalent bonds of TBT with –SH groups on the enzyme complexes. This mechanism, shouldered by the progressive decrease of free cystein residues in the presence of increasing TBT concentrations, suggests that the onset of covalent tin-sulphur bonds in distinct protein structures may constitute the molecular basis of widespread TBT effects on mitochondrial complexes. Energy production disturbances, in turn affecting energy consuming mechanisms, could be involved in other cellular changes. Mussels exposed to a wide range of TBT concentrations (20 - 200 and 2000 ng/L respectively) did not show any change in testosterone and estrogen levels in mature gonads. Most hormones were in the non-biologically active esterified form both in control and in TBT-treated mussels. Probably the endocrine status of sexually mature mussels could be refractory even to high TBT doses. In mussel digestive gland the high biological variability of microsomal 7-benzyloxy-4-trifluoromethylcoumarin-O-Debenzyloxylase (BFCOD) activity, taken as a measure of CYP3A-like efficiency, probably concealed any enzyme response to TBT exposure. On the other hand the TBT-driven enhancement of BFCOD activity in vitro was once again ascribed to covalent binding to thiol groups which, in this case, would stimulate the enzyme activity. In mussels from Barcelona harbour, a highly contaminated site, the enzyme showed a decreased affinity for the 7-benzyloxy-4-trifluoromethylcoumarin (BCF) substrate with respect to mussel sampled from Ebro Delta, a non-polluted marine site. Contaminant exposure may thus alter the kinetic features of enzymes involved in detoxification mechanisms. Contaminants and steroid hormones were clearly shown to mutually interact in the modulation of detoxification mechanisms. The xenoestrogen 17α-ethylenyl estradiol (EE2) displayed a non-competitive mixed inhibition of CYP3A-like activity by a preferential bond to the free enzyme both in Barcelona harbour and Ebro Delta mussels. The possible interaction with co-present contaminants in Barcelona harbour mussels apparently lessened the formation of the ternary complex enzyme-EE2-BCF. The whole of data confirms TBT as membrane toxicant in mussels as in other species and stresses TBT covalent binding to protein thiols as a widespread mechanism of membrane-bound-enzyme activity modulation by the contaminant.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Nesci, Salvatore
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
tributyltin (TBT), F1FO complex, mitochondria, imposex, CYP3A-like,
Data di discussione
7 Giugno 2010

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