Rafiquel Islam wins the 2021 SETAC AU Postgraduate Research Publication Award

Category: General Notices

  19 Aug 2021

Rafiquel Islam, a PhD candidate at University of Newcastle Australia and Assistant Professor at the Islamic University, Bangladesh, has won SETAC AU's 2021 Postgraduate Research Publication Award for his paper "Exposure to estrogenic mixtures results in tissue-specific alterations to the metabolome of oysters". 

Rafiquel's study investigated the effect of environmentally relevant mixtures of estrogens at levels representative of receiving waters (Australian and global) on the metabolome of the Sydney rock oyster, Saccostrea glomerata. Oysters were exposed for 7 days to a “low” and a “high” mixture of (xeno)estrogens, typical of concentrations found in Australian and global receiving waters, respectively. Polar metabolite alterations in the digestive gland, gill, and gonad tissue were quantified with 1H NMR spectroscopy. The digestive gland metabolite profile was the most responsive to estrogenic mixtures (both low and high), whereas gills and ovaries demonstrated lesser sensitivity (responding to high mixtures only), and the male gonad was largely unresponsive. Major metabolites such as amino acids, carbohydrates, intermediates of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and ATP were all down-regulated in a tissue-specific fashion, with the most significant proportion of metabolites down-regulated in the digestive gland. In addition, exposure to both mixtures lowered the soft body mass of both sexes of oysters as well. Overall, the environmentally relevant (xeno) estrogen mixtures were found to impact the metabolome and associated energy metabolism of the oyster translating to lower pools of available ATP energy for potential growth, reproduction, and fitness. Although the mechanisms through which pathways estrogen exerts its action on the TCA cycle are unknown at present, the authors offered three possible explanations: 1) Estrogen exposure can lower feeding rates that may translate to lower available substrates for TCA cycling; 2) receptor-mediated estrogenic signalling may be at play; and finally, 3) that estrogens mixtures may affect transcription of enzymes integral to TCA cycling. 

The full citation of the article is: Islam, R., Melvin, S.D., Yu, R.M.K., O’Connor, W.A., Tran, T.K.A., Andrew-Priestley, M., Leusch, F.D.L., MacFarlane, G.R., 2021. Exposure to estrogenic mixtures results in tissue-specific alterations to the metabolome of oysters. Aquatic Toxicology 231, 105722. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2020.105722

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