Metatranscriptomic analysis of the response of river biofilms to pharmaceutical products, using anonymous DNA microarrays

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00873-10
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TypeArticle
Journal titleApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume76
Issue16
Pages54325439; # of pages: 8
AbstractPharmaceutical products are released at low concentrations into aquatic environments following domestic wastewater treatment. Such low concentrations have been shown to induce transcriptional responses in microorganisms, which could have consequences on aquatic ecosystem dynamics. In order to test if these transcriptional responses could also be observed in complex river microbial communities, biofilm reactors were inoculated with water from two rivers of differing trophic statuses and subsequently treated with environmentally relevant doses (ng/liter to ?g/liter range) of four pharmaceuticals (erythromycin [ER], gemfibrozil [GM], sulfamethazine [SN], and sulfamethoxazole [SL]). To monitor functional gene expression, we constructed a 9,600-feature anonymous DNA microarray platform onto which cDNA from the biofilms was hybridized. Pharmaceutical treatments induced both positive and negative transcriptional responses from biofilm microorganisms. For instance, ER induced the transcription of several stress, transcription, and replication genes, while GM, a lipid regulator, induced transcriptional responses from several genes involved in lipid metabolism. SN caused shifts in genes involved in energy production and conversion, and SL induced responses from a range of cell membrane and outer envelope genes, which in turn could affect biofilm formation. The results presented here demonstrate for the first time that low concentrations of small molecules can induce transcriptional changes in a complex microbial community. The relevance of these results also demonstrates the usefulness of anonymous DNA microarrays for large-scale metatranscriptomic studies of communities from differing aquatic ecosystems.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Biotechnology Research Institute
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number53333
NPARC number16080416
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Record identifier9900dda2-35c6-482e-8583-5e3a723f39a8
Record created2010-11-05
Record modified2016-05-09
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