The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill contaminated the spawning habitats for numerous commercially and ecologically important fishes. Exposure to the water accommodated fraction (WAF) of oil from the spill has been shown to cause cardiac toxicity during early developmental stages across fishes. To better understand the molecular events and explore new pathways responsible for toxicity, RNA sequencing was performed in conjunction with physiological and morphological assessments to analyze the time-course (24, 48, and 96 h post fertilization (hpf)) of transcriptional and developmental responses in embryos/larvae of mahi-mahi exposed to WAF of weathered (slick) and source DWH oils. Slick oil exposure induced more pronounced changes in gene expression over time than source oil exposure. Predominant transcriptomic responses included alteration of EIF2 signaling, steroid biosynthesis, ribosome biogenesis and activation of the cytochrome P450 pathway. At 96 hpf, slick oil exposure resulted in significant perturbations in eye development and peripheral nervous system, suggesting novel targets in addition to the heart may be involved in the developmental toxicity of DHW oil. Comparisons of changes of cardiac genes with phenotypic responses were consistent with reduced heart rate and increased pericardial edema in larvae exposed to slick oil but not source oil.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry