Subtoxic dose of lithium cobalt oxide nanosheets impacts critical molecular pathways in trout gill epithelial cells†
Increasing use of nanoscale lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) particles in nanotechnologies, including catalysis and energy storage, raises concerns over their release into the environment and subsequent biological impact. Here we study the impact of LCO nanosheets on trout gill epithelial cells – model cells for environmental exposures – by global transcriptomics using RNA-Seq. We identify molecular processes impacted by subtoxic and toxic nanoparticle (NP) doses as well as dissolved Li+ and Co2+ ions. We found that the ions, at concentrations released from the toxic NP dose, did not impact cell viability and downregulated the expression of few genes following 24 h exposure, which recovered to normal levels at 48 h. In contrast, the toxic NP dose upregulated the expression of over 1000 genes at each time point, indicating the intact NPs are responsible for perturbing gene expression and toxicity. Importantly, the subtoxic NP dose, despite having no impact on cell viability, upregulated the expression of over 500 genes at 24 h, and 150 genes at 48 h. Clustering analysis showed distinct gene expression profiles induced by the toxic and subtoxic NP doses, and functional enrichment identified pathways with distinct patterns of regulations. The impacted pathways fell into four main functional categories: metabolic and energy related processes, oxygen and hypoxia related processes, membrane binding and internalization processes, and developmental processes. Together, our observations indicate that LCO NP toxicity originates from the intact NP, not the dissolved ions, and even subtoxic NP dose impacts multiple pathways critical to the normal function of the cell.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles