Toxic mechanism on phenanthrene-induced cytotoxicity, oxidative stress and activity changes of superoxide dismutase and catalase in earthworm (Eisenia foetida): A combined molecular and cellular study


Phenanthrene (PHE) is an important organic compound, which is widespread in the soil environment and exhibits potential threats to soil organisms. Toxic effects of PHE to earthworms have been extensively studied, but toxic mechanisms on PHE-induced cytotoxicity and oxidative stress at the molecular and cellular levels have not been reported yet. Therefore, we explored the cytotoxicity and oxidative stress caused by PHE in earthworm coelomocytes and the interaction mechanism between PHE and the major antioxidant enzymes SOD/CAT. It was shown that high-dose PHE exposure induced the intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, mediated lipid peroxidation, reduced total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) in coelomocytes, and triggered oxidative stress, thus resulted in a strong cytotoxicity at higher concentrations (0.6-1.0 mg/L). The intracellular SOD/CAT activity in cells after PHE exposure were congruent with that in molecular levels, which the activity of SOD enhanced and CAT inhibited. Spectroscopic studies showed the SOD/CAT protein skeleton and secondary structure, as well as the micro-environment of aromatic amino acids were changed after PHE binding. Molecular docking indicated PHE preferentially docked to the surface of SOD. However, the key residues Tyr 357, His 74, and Asn 147 for activity were in the binding pocket, indicating PHE more likely to dock to the active center of CAT. In addition, H-bonding and hydrophobic force were the primary driving force in the binding interaction between PHE and SOD/CAT. This study indicates that PHE can induce cytotoxicity and oxidative damage to coelomocytes and unearthes the potential effects of PHE on earthworms.

Authors: Falin He, Qiang Liu, Mingyang Jing, Jingqiang Wan, Chengqian Huo, Wansong Zong, Jingchun Tang, Rutao Liu
; Full Source: Journal of hazardous materials 2021 Jun 9;418:126302. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126302.