Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 189, Issue 2, pp 574–585 | Cite as

Biochemical CuSO4 Toxicity in Drosophila melanogaster Depends on Sex and Developmental Stage of Exposure

  • Paula Tais Halmenschelager
  • João Batista Teixeira da RochaEmail author


Copper is a transition metal that exists in different chemical forms (e.g., Cu2+,Cu+, and Cu0) and at high concentrations it is toxic. Here, we investigated the Cu2+-induced toxicity in Drosophila melanogaster, evaluating the survival, locomotion, and the activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes. Flies were exposed to Cu2+(0.1–1 mmol CuSO4/kg of diet or approximately 0.1–1 mM Cu2+) and allowed to mate during 24 h. GST and AChE enzymes were evaluated in the larvae and in the head and the body (thorax + abdomen) of the adult male and females flies. The total number of adult females (0.4–1 mM) and males (0.75 and 1 mM) was decreased by CuSO4. The climbing ability was hampered in flies exposed to 1 mM Cu2+. In larvae, Cu2+(0.4–1 mM) increased AChE activity (P < 0.002). In males’ heads, 0.4 mM Cu2+ increased the AChE activity (P < 0.01). In adults’ bodies, Cu2+inhibited the activity in both sexes, but with greater effectiveness in males (0.1 to 1 mM) than in females (1 mM). Regarding GST activity, 0.1 mM Cu2+increased, but 1 mM decrease GST in larvae. In the head of flies, Cu2+decreased the GST activity at intermediate (0.4 mM) and increased GST at the highest concentration (1 mM) in males. In the bodies, the effect of Cu2+was similar. In conclusion, Cu2+exposure in D. melanogaster disrupted locomotion and enzymatic parameters that can be related to changes in AChE and in the detoxifying GST enzyme.


Copper Drosophila melanogaster Acetylcholinesterase Glutathione S-transferase 


Funding Information

This study received financial support from the Institutional Scholarship Program (PIBIC), Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Coordination of Improvement of Higher Level Personnel (CAPES), Financier of Studies and Projects (FINEP), and Foundation of Support to the State of Rio Grande do Sul research (FAPERGS).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

12011_2018_1475_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Tais Halmenschelager
    • 1
  • João Batista Teixeira da Rocha
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center for Natural and Exact SciencesFederal University of Santa MariaSanta MariaBrazil

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