Dose-dependent effects of metals on gene expression in the Sydney rock oyster, Saccostrea glomerata

Daisy A. Taylor*, Sham V. Nair, Emma L. Thompson, David A. Raftos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In the current study, we tested the effects of common environmental contaminants (the metals zinc and lead) on gene expression in Sydney rock oysters (Saccrostrea glomerata). Oysters were exposed to a range of metal concentrations under controlled laboratory conditions. The expression of 14 putative stress response genes was then measured using quantitative, real-time (q) PCR. The expression of all 14 genes was significantly affected (p<0.05 vs. nonexposed controls) by at least one of the metals, and by at least one dose of metal. For 5 of the 14 target genes (actin, calmodulin, superoxide dismutase, topoisomerase I, and tubulin) the alteration of expression relative to controls was highest at intermediate (rather than high) doses of metals. Such responses may reflect adaptive (acclimation) reactions in gene expression at low to intermediate doses of contaminants, followed by a decline in expression resulting from exposure at higher doses. The data are discussed in terms of the intracellular pathways affected by metal contamination, and the relevance of such gene expression data to environmental biomonitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-998
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • Saccostrea glomerata
  • dose–response
  • real‐time PCR
  • biomarker genes
  • metals


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