The consequences of exposure to particulate matter (PM) have been thoroughly investigated in humans and other model species, but there is a dearth of studies of the effects of PM on physiology and life-history traits of non-human organisms living in natural or semi-natural environments. Besides toxicological relevance, PM has been recently suggested to exert epigenetic effects by altering DNA methylation patterns. Here, we investigated for the first time the association between the exposure to free-air PM10 and DNA methylation at two loci ('poly-Q exon' and '5'-UTR') of the Clock gene in blood cells of the nestlings of a synanthropic passerine bird, the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica). The Clock gene is a phylogenetically highly conserved gene playing a major role in governing circadian rhythms and circannual life cycles of animals, implying that change in its level of methylation can impact on important fitness traits. We found that methylation at both loci significantly increased with PM10 levels recorded few days before blood sampling, and also with PM10 exposure experienced by the mother during or shortly before egg laying. This study is the first where methylation at a functionally important gene has been shown to vary according to the concentration of anthropogenic pollutants in any animal species in the wild. Since early-life environmental conditions produce epigenetic effects that can transgenerationally be transmitted, DNA methylation of genes controlling photoperiodic response can have far reaching consequences for the ecology and the evolution of wild animal populations.

Methylation of the circadian Clock gene in the offspring of a free-living passerine bird increases with maternal and individual exposure to PM10 / A. Romano, B. De Giorgio, M. Parolini, C. Favero, C.D. Possenti, S. Iodice, M. Caprioli, D. Rubolini, R. Ambrosini, L. Gianfranceschi, N. Saino, V. Bollati. - In: ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION. - ISSN 0269-7491. - 220:pt A(2017 Jan), pp. 29-37.

Methylation of the circadian Clock gene in the offspring of a free-living passerine bird increases with maternal and individual exposure to PM10

A. Romano
Primo
;
B. De Giorgio
Secondo
;
M. Parolini;C. Favero;C.D. Possenti;S. Iodice;M. Caprioli;D. Rubolini;R. Ambrosini;L. Gianfranceschi
;
N. Saino
Penultimo
;
V. Bollati
Ultimo
2017-01

Abstract

The consequences of exposure to particulate matter (PM) have been thoroughly investigated in humans and other model species, but there is a dearth of studies of the effects of PM on physiology and life-history traits of non-human organisms living in natural or semi-natural environments. Besides toxicological relevance, PM has been recently suggested to exert epigenetic effects by altering DNA methylation patterns. Here, we investigated for the first time the association between the exposure to free-air PM10 and DNA methylation at two loci ('poly-Q exon' and '5'-UTR') of the Clock gene in blood cells of the nestlings of a synanthropic passerine bird, the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica). The Clock gene is a phylogenetically highly conserved gene playing a major role in governing circadian rhythms and circannual life cycles of animals, implying that change in its level of methylation can impact on important fitness traits. We found that methylation at both loci significantly increased with PM10 levels recorded few days before blood sampling, and also with PM10 exposure experienced by the mother during or shortly before egg laying. This study is the first where methylation at a functionally important gene has been shown to vary according to the concentration of anthropogenic pollutants in any animal species in the wild. Since early-life environmental conditions produce epigenetic effects that can transgenerationally be transmitted, DNA methylation of genes controlling photoperiodic response can have far reaching consequences for the ecology and the evolution of wild animal populations.
Air pollution; Barn swallow; DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Clock gene
Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia
Settore MED/44 - Medicina del Lavoro
3-ott-2016
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/451217
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