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Aquat Toxicol. 2005 Feb 10;71(3):273-82. Epub 2005 Jan 1.

Testosterone conjugating activities in invertebrates: are they targets for endocrine disruptors?

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Environmental Chemistry Department, IIQAB-CSIC-Jordi Girona 18, 08034 Barcelona, Spain.


Testosterone conjugation activities, microsomal acyltransferases and cytosolic sulfotransferases, were investigated in three invertebrate species, the gastropod Marisa cornuarietis, the amphipod Hyalella azteca, and the echinoderm Paracentrotus lividus. The goals of the study were to characterize steroid conjugation pathways in different invertebrate phyla and to assess the susceptibility of those processes to disruption by environmental chemicals. All three species exhibited palmitoyl-CoA: testosterone acyltransferase activity (ATAT) in the range of 100-510 pmol/min/mg protein. Despite similarities in specific activities, kinetic studies indicated that ATAT had a higher affinity for testosterone but a lower V(max) in M. cornuarietis than in P. lividus, and intermediate values were found for H. azteca. In contrast, the activity of testosterone sulfotransferase (SULT) was rather low (0.05-0.18 pmol/min/mg protein) in M. cornuarietis and H. azteca. The low activity precluded kinetic analyses and inhibition studies with these species. P. lividus digestive tube displayed high SULT activity (50-170 pmol/min/mg protein) at moderate testosterone concentrations, but was inhibited at high testosterone concentrations. The interference of model pollutants (triphenyltin (TPT), tributyltin (TBT), and fenarimol) with these conjugation pathways was investigated in vitro. Both TPT and TBT (100 microM) inhibited ATAT in P. lividus (68 and 42% inhibition, respectively), and appeared to act as non-competitive inhibitors. ATAT activity in M. cornuarietis was less affected by organotins, and a significant inhibition (20% inhibition) was detected only with TBT. Fenarimol (100 microM) did not affect ATAT in any of the species tested. Sulfation of testosterone was suppressed by the organotins as well as fenarimol when using cytosolic preparations from P. lividus. These results demonstrated the existence of interphyla differences in testosterone conjugation, and revealed that these processes can serve as targets for endocrine disrupting chemicals.

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