Epigenetics, snails, ecotoxicology

Name: An epitoxicogenomic approach to cadmium hepatotoxicity: a gasteropod model. (PN-II-RU-TE- 2014-4-0776)
Acronym: EPICAD
Budget: 550.000 lei
Duration: 1 Oct. 2015 - 30 Sept. 2017
Funding unit: Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation (UEFISCDI)

Anthropogenic pollution is a major societal challenge that intimately links ecological sustainability, food security, and human health. Trace metals are of particular interest among potentially hazardous pollutants because they are persistent over time and tend to accumulate along trophic chains. Cadmium (Cd) is a high-profile example of toxic metal that has a very long biological half-life (10-30 years) and is ranked as a priority pollutant worldwide .

It affects our bodies at multiple levels, including the subtle networks shaping gene expression, the epigenome. DNA methylation (as 5-methylcytosine - 5mC, as well as 5-hydroxymethylcytosine - 5hmC) is a key epigenetic mechanism involved in regulating gene expression, but we have surprisingly little information how Cd affects the variability of global DNA methylation in the liver.

Cadmium induces not only aberrant genome-wide 5mC & 5hmC levels in the human genome, but also changes in global 5mC levels in different vertebrate species, but, surprisingly, there is very little knowledge about its impact on invertebrate (hyroxy)methylome although these organisms are well-known for their value as bioindicators in terrestrial ecosystems.