Parental exposure to perfluorobutane sulfonate disturbs the transfer of maternal transcripts and offspring embryonic development in zebrafish


Parental exposure to perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS), an aquatic pollutant of emerging concern, is previously found to impair the embryonic development of offspring. However, the impairing mechanisms remain to clarify. In the present study, adult zebrafish were exposed to 0, 10 and 100 μg/L PFBS for 28 d, after which disturbances in maternal transcript transfer and offspring embryogenesis were investigated. Prior to zygotic genome activation, high-throughput transcriptomic sequencing revealed that parental PFBS exposure significantly altered the transcript profile of maternal origin in offspring eggs, while toxic actions varied as a function of PFBS concentrations. In offspring eggs derived from 10 μg/L exposure group, differential transcripts were mainly associated with the histone-DNA interaction of nucleosome, which would modify the compacted chromatin configuration and accessibility of transcriptional factors to DNA sequences. In this regard, the timing of zygotic genome activation was presumably disrupted. Parental exposure to 100 μg/L PFBS primarily interrupted the maternal transfer of adherens junction transcripts, which was supposed to dysregulate the cell-cell adhesion during early embryo formation. Development and growth of offspring embryos were significantly compromised by parental PFBS exposure, as exemplified by higher mortality, delayed hatching, slower heart rate, reduced body weight and neurobehavioral disorders. Overall, the present study presented the first toxicological evidence about the disturbances of PFBS in maternal transcript transfer, although the inherent linkage between maternal transcript modifications and offspring development defects still needs future works to construct.