John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Biokinetics and metallothionein‐like proteins response in oysters facing metal challenges in an estuary

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Discovery of colored oysters in an estuary in Southern China raised questions on how these oysters could survive in such an unpredictable estuary. In the present study, we conducted a transplant experiment using oysters Crassostrea hongkongensis in the estuary to quantify the changes of metal biokinetics (cadmium and zinc) and the responses of metallothionein‐like proteins (MTLPs). Oysters in the transplantation experiment accumulated extremely high concentrations of Cd, Cu, Cr, Ni and Zn. The present study provided the field evidence of the time‐course coupling relationship between Cd and Zn bioaccumulation. Over the 2‐month transplantation, the uptake rate constants of Cd and Zn varied greatly during the early stage of exposure, but subsequently became comparable among the different locations. The dietary Zn assimilation remained relatively constant, whereas the Cd assimilation increased gradually with increasing period of exposure. There was no notable difference in dietary metal assimilation among the different locations. In contrast, the efflux rates quantified by the end of transplantation were 26‐42% higher for Cd and 12‐37% higher for Zn than that in the unexposed oysters. We further demonstrated that the incoming Cu and Zn were not stored in MTLPs pool, and that MTLPs synthesis and breakdown were little affected by metal exposure. Overall, our transplantation experiments suggested that oysters displayed rather weak ability to modify their biokinetics and metallothionein turnover under metal exposure. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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