, Volume 28, Issue 7, pp 754–762 | Cite as

Effects of phenol on glutathione S-transferase expression and enzyme activity in Chironomus kiiensis larvae

  • Lili Sun
  • Jiannan Wang
  • Xiaopeng Li
  • Chuanwang CaoEmail author


Detoxifying enzyme mRNAs are potentially useful stress biomarkers. Glutathione S-transferase (GST) metabolises lipophilic organic contaminants and mitigates oxidative damage caused by environmental pollutants. Herein, 12 Chironomus kiiensis GSTs (CkGSTs1−6, CkGSTt1−2, CkGSTd1−2, CkGSTm1−2) were cloned and grouped into sigma, theta, delta and microsomal subclasses. Open reading frames (450−699 bp) encode 170−232 amino acid proteins with predicted molecular masses of 17.31−26.84 kDa and isoelectric points from 4.94 to 9.58. All 12 GSTs were expressed during all tested developmental stages, and 11 displayed higher expression in fourth-instar larvae than eggs. GST activity after 24 h of phenol exposure was used to estimate environmental phenol contamination. After exposure to sublethal concentrations of phenol for 48 h, expression and activity of CkGSTs were inhibited in C. kiiensis larvae. Expression of CkGSTd1−2 and CkGSTs1−2 varied with phenol concentration, indicating potential use as biomarkers for monitoring environmental phenol contamination.


Chironomus kiiensis Phenol Glutathione S-transferase Transcription profiling Metabolic activity Biomarkers 



The work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (grant no. 2572016DA02), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570642).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval

This species is not under regulatory body concerned with protection of wildlife of interest.

Supplementary material

10646_2019_2071_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lili Sun
    • 1
  • Jiannan Wang
    • 1
  • Xiaopeng Li
    • 1
  • Chuanwang Cao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Sustainable Forest Ecosystem Management, Ministry of Education, School of ForestryNortheast Forestry UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China

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