Mixtures of Aluminum and Indium Induce More than Additive Phenotypic and Toxicogenomic Responses in Daphnia magna.
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Aquatic systems are contaminated by many metals but their effects as mixtures on organisms are not well understood. Here, we assessed effects of aluminum with fairly well-known modes of actions and indium, an understudied emerging contaminant from electronics, followed by studying equi-effective mixtures thereof. We report acute and adverse phenotypic effects in Daphnia magna adults and global transcriptomic effects employing RNA sequencing in neonates. The mixture induced more than additive activity in mortality and in physiological effects, including growth and reproduction. Similarly, transcriptomic effects were more than additive, as indicated by a markedly higher number of 463 differentially expressed transcripts in the mixture and by distinct classes of genes assigned to several biological functions, including metabolic processes, suggesting depleted energy reserves, which may be responsible for the observed impaired reproduction and growth. A gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) of a priori known response pathways for aluminum confirmed activation of distinct molecular pathways by indium. Our study is highlighting more than additive effects at the transcriptional and physiological level and is providing a state-of-the art approach to mixture analysis, which is important for risk assessment of these metals and metal mixtures.