The BPA-substitute bisphenol S alters the transcription of genes related to endocrine, stress response and biotransformation pathways in the aquatic midge Chironomus riparius (Diptera, Chironomidae).
PLoS One. 2018 ;13(2):e0193387. Epub 2018 Feb 21. PMID: 29466445
Bisphenol S (BPS) is an industrial alternative to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA), and can be found in many products labeled"BPA-free". Its use has grown in recent years, and presently it is considered a ubiquitous emerging pollutant. To date there is a lack of information on the effects of BPS on invertebrates, although they represent more than 95% of known species in the animal kingdom and are crucial for the structure and proper function of ecosystems. In this study, real-time RT-PCR was used to determine the early detrimental effects of BPS on the transcriptional rate of genes in the model species Chironomus riparius, specifically those related to the ecdysone pathway (EcR, ERR, E74, Vtg, cyp18a1) crucial for insect development and metamorphosis, stress and biotransformation mechanisms (hsp70, hsp40, cyp4g, GPx, GSTd3) that regulate adaptive responses and determine survival, and ribosome biogenesis (its2, rpL4, rpL13) which is essential for protein synthesis and homeostasis. While 24-hour exposure to 0.5, 5, 50, and 500μg/L BPS had no effect on larval survival, almost all the studied genes were upregulated following a non-monotonic dose-response curve. Genes with the greatest increases in transcriptional activity (fold change relative to control) were EcR (3.8), ERR (2), E74 (2.4), cyp18a1 (2.5), hsp70 (1.7), hsp40 (2.5), cyp4g (6.4), GPx (1.8), and GST (2.1), while others including Vtg, GAPDH, and selected ribosomal genes remained stable. We also measured the transcriptional activity of these genes 24 hours after BPS withdrawal and a general downregulation compared to controls was observed, though not significant in most cases. Our findings showed that BPS exposure altered the transcriptional profile of these genes, which may have consequences for the hormone system and several metabolic pathways. Although further research is needed to elucidate its mode of action, these results raise new concerns about the safety of BPA alternatives.