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Developmental exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of bifenthrin alters transcription of mTOR and ryanodine receptor-dependent signaling molecules and impairs predator avoidance behavior across early life stages in inland silversides (Menidia beryllina)

Frank, Daniel F., Brander, Susanne M., Hasenbein, Simone, Harvey, Danielle J., Lein, Pamela J., Geist, Juergen, Connon, Richard E.
Aquatic toxicology 2019 v.206 pp. 1-13
Danio rerio, Menidia beryllina, acute exposure, behavior change, bifenthrin, calcium signaling, early development, ecotoxicology, euryhaline species, fish communities, gene expression, genes, larvae, long term effects, models, population dynamics, predator avoidance, rapamycin, transcription (genetics), wild fish
Altered transcription of calcium-dependent signaling cascades involving the ryanodine receptor (RyR) and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) in response to environmental exposures have been described in model vertebrates, including zebrafish, while the relevance for wild fishes remains unknown. To address this knowledge gap, we exposed the euryhaline model species Menidia beryllina (inland silversides) to the insecticide bifenthrin, a known modulator of calcium signaling. The main objectives of this study were to determine: (1) whether exposure of developing silversides to environmentally relevant concentrations of bifenthrin alters their behavior; and (2) whether behavioral changes correlate with altered expression of genes involved in RyR and mTOR-dependent signaling pathways. At six hours post fertilization (hpf), inland silversides were exposed to bifenthrin at 3, 27 and 122 ng/L until 7 days post fertilization (dpf, larvae hatched at 6dpf), followed by a 14-day recovery period in uncontaminated water. Transcriptional responses were measured at 5, 7 and 21 dpf; locomotor behavior following external stimuli and response to an olfactory predator cue were assessed at 7 and 21 dpf. Bifenthrin elicited significant non-monotonic transcriptional responses in the majority of genes examined at 5 dpf and at 21 dpf. Bifenthrin also significantly altered predator avoidance behavior via olfactory mechanisms with main effects identified for animals exposed to 3 and 27 ng/L. Behavioral effects were not detected in response to visual stimuli during acute exposure, but were significant in the predator-cue assessment following the recovery period, suggesting delayed and long-term effects of early developmental exposures to bifenthrin. Our findings demonstrate that at picomolar (pM) concentrations, which are often not represented in ecotoxicological studies, bifenthrin perturbs early development of inland silversides. These developmental impacts are manifested behaviorally at later life stages, specifically as altered patterns of predator avoidance behavior, which have been correlated with population decline. Collectively, these data suggest that bifenthrin may be negatively impacting wild fish populations.