Transcriptional response of stress genes to metal exposure in zebra mussel larvae and adults.
Development of stress markers for the invader freshwater zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is of great interest for both conservation and biomonitoring purposes. Gene expression profiles of several putative or already established gene expression stress markers (Metallothionein, Superoxide dismutase, Catalase, Glutathione S transferase, Glutathione peroxidase, Cytochrome c oxidase, the multixenobiotic resistance P-gp1, and heat shock proteins HSP70 and HSP90) were analyzed by quantitative Real-Time PCR in adults and pediveliger larvae after exposure to metals (Hg, Cu, Cd). A defined pattern of coordinated responses to metal exposure and, presumably, to oxidative stress was observed in gills and digestive gland from adults. A similar, albeit partial response was observed in larvae, indicating an early development of stress-related gene responses in zebra mussel. The tools developed in this study may be useful both for future control strategies and for the use of zebra mussel as sentinel species in water courses with stable populations. Coordinated expression of stress genes in zebra mussel.