Exposure to xenobiotic chemicals disrupts metabolism, rhythmicity and cell proliferation in Drosophila melanogaster

Abstract: Most species are constantly exposed to xenobiotic chemicals through multiple routes. Among all categories of xenobiotics, phthalates and bisphenols are two of the most widely used plasticizers and can be found in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) materials, medical devices and even drinking water. In paper I, we found that bis-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) exposure caused a significant decrease in circulating carbohydrates and insulin-related genes. The Multidrug-Resistance like Protein 1 (MRP1, MRP in Drosophila) belongs to the ATP-binding cassette transporter family, and previous studies revealed the importance of MRP1 for transporting xenobiotics. However, the function of MRP1 in metabolism and other biological processes is still unclear. Therefore, in paper II, we showed that knocking down MRP expression in Malpighian tubules, the physiological equivalence of the vertebrate kidney, led to disrupted lipid homeostasis and oxidative resistance. In paper III and IV, we initially used whole transcriptome sequencing to assess the genetic interferences of exposure to Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) and Bisphenol A Diglycidyl Ether (BADGE). The reproductive and developmental disruptions of DBP had been reported in many studies. However, the mechanism is still unclear. In paper III, we observed that DBP interfered with neuronal systems associated circadian genes, including in vrille (vri, human NFIL3), timeless (tim, human TIMELESS), period (per, human PER3) and Pigment-dispersing factor (Pdf). Furthermore, we demonstrated that the evolutionarily conserved gene, Hormone receptor-like in 38 (Hr38, human NR4A2) was involved in responding to DBP and regulated Pdf expression as a consequence. In paper IV, BADGE, a BPA-substitute, was tested for its disruptive effects on Drosophila. Based on the transcriptome sequencing, we found that several mitotic genes, including string (stg, human CDC25A), Cyclin B (CycB, human CCNB1), Cyclin E (CycE, human CCNE1), and pan gu (png, human NEK11), had detectable overexpression by BADGE exposure. Developmental exposure to BADGE induced a large increase of hemocytes in fly 3rd instar larvae, while it did not damage the morphological structure of lymph gland and blood circulation. To summarize, our studies describe the potential disruptions of the industrial xenobiotics and provide the mechanistic hints for future investigations.