Triclosan (TCS, 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol) is commonly used in several personal care products, textiles, and children's toys. Because the removal of TCS by wastewater treatment plants is incomplete, its environmental fate is to be discharged into freshwater ecosystems, where its ecotoxicological impact is still largely unexplored. Previously, we began a structured multi-tiered approach in order to evaluate TCS toxicity in the freshwater mussel Dreissena polymorpha. The results of our previous studies, based on in vitro and in vivo experiments, highlighted a pronounced cytogenotoxic effect exerted by TCS, and showed that an increase in oxidative stress was likely to be one of its main toxic mechanisms. In this work, in order to investigate TCS toxicity mechanisms in aquatic non-target species in greater depth, we decided to use a proteomic approach, analysing changes in protein expression profiles in gills of D. polymorpha exposed for seven days to TCS. Moreover, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were measured to investigate further the role played by TCS in inducing oxidative stress. Finally, TCS bioaccumulation in mussel tissues was also assessed, to ensure an effective accumulation of the toxicant. Our results not only confirmed the role played by TCS in inducing oxidative stress, but furthered knowledge about the mechanism exerted by TCS in inducing toxicity in an aquatic non-target organisms. TCS induced significant alterations in protein expression profiles in gills of D. polymorpha. The wide range of proteins affected suggested that this chemical has marked effects on various biological processes, especially those involved in calcium binding or stress response. We also confirmed that the proteomic analysis, using 2-DE and de novo sequencing, is a reliable and powerful approach to investigate cellular responses to pollutants in a non-model organism with few genomic sequences available in databases.
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