In Situ Subcellular Imaging of Copper and Zinc in Contaminated Oysters Revealed by Nanoscale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14426-14435
Journal / PublicationEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
Online published8 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


Determining the in situ localization of trace elements at high lateral resolution levels in the biological system is very challenging, but critical for our understanding of metal sequestration and detoxification. Here, the cellular and subcellular distributions of Cu and Zn in contaminated oysters of Crassostrea hongkongensis were for the first time mapped using nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS). Three types of metal-containing cells were revealed in the gill and mantle of oysters, including Cu-specific hemocytes, Cu and Zn-containing granular hemocytes, and Cu and Zn-containing calcium cells. Obvious intercellular distribution of Cu was found in the gill tissue, indicating the potential role of hemolymph in the transportation of Cu in oysters. The distribution of Cu showed a strong colocalization with sulfur and nitrogen in Cu-specific hemocyte and intercellular hemolymph. In the Cu and Zn-containing granular hemocytes and calcium cells, the co-occurrence of Cu and Zn with phosphorus and calcium was also found. Different relationships of distributions between Cu/Zn and macronutrient elements (nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus) implied the differential metal complexation in oysters. Interestingly, quantitative analysis of the ratios of 32S-/12C14N- and 31P-/12C14N- of metal-deposited sites suggested the dynamic process of transfer of Cu and Zn from the metabolized protein pool to a more thermodynamically stable and detoxified form.  © 2017 American Chemical Society

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