Glutathione metabolism is conserved in response to excessive copper exposure between mice liver and Aurelia coerulea polyps

Jing Wang, Xueqi Ma, Xiang Gao, Qing Liu, Yongfang Wang, Wangxiao Xia, Xiaoyu Hua, Jishun Yang, Juan Höfer, Marina Pozzolini, Yuxin Shen, Liang Xiao, Ruirong Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Copper (Cu) is a trace element that is engaged in various routine physiological processes. Excessive copper exposure can cause damage to organisms; however, it is unknown if the mechanisms underlying the response to Cu2+ among different species are conserved. Methods: Aurelia coerulea polyps and mice models were exposed to Cu2+ to assess its effects on survival status and organ damage. Transcriptomic sequencing, BLAST, structural analysis, and real-time quantitative PCR were carried out to analyze the similarities and differences in the molecular composition and response mechanisms between two species when exposed to Cu2+. Results: Excessive Cu2+ exposure led to toxic effects on both A. coerulea polyps and mice. The polyps were injured at a Cu2+ concentration of 3.0 mg L−1. In the mice, increasing Cu2+ concentrations were correlated with, the degree of liver damage, which manifested as hepatocyte apoptosis. In the 300 mg L−1 Cu2+ group of mice, livers cell death was primarily triggered by the phagosome and Toll-like signaling pathways. We found the glutathione metabolism was significantly altered in response to copper stress in both A. coerulea polyps and mice. Moreover, the similarity of gene sequences enriched at the two same sites in this pathway was as high as 41.05 %–49.82 % and 43.61 %–45.99 % respectively. Among them, there was a conservative region in the structure of A. coerulea polyps GSTK1 and mice Gsta2, but the overall difference is large. Conclusion: Glutathione metabolism is a conserved copper response mechanism in evolutionary distant organisms such as A. coerulea polyps and mice, although mammals have a more complex regulatory network when it comes to copper-induced cell death.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163382
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 10 Jul 2023


  • Aurelia coerulea
  • Conserved response mechanism
  • Copper exposure
  • Glutathione metabolism
  • Mouse model


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