Ladomery Lab RNA Biology Group

Ladomery Lab
Southwest UK RNA Club

Research Papers

Residual ground-water levels of the neonicotinoid thiacloprid perturb chemo-sensing of Caenorhabditis elegans

Ecotoxicology, accepted ref.: ECTX-D-16-00274R2 (2017) -

Authors: Hannah Hopewell, Kieran G. Floyd, Daniel Burnell, John T. Hancock, Joel Allainguillaume, Michael R. Ladomery, and Ian D. Wilson


This study investigated the neurological effects of residual ground-water levels of thiacloprid on the non-target organism Caenorhabditis elegans. Nematodes treated with thiacloprid showed a dose-dependent and significantly increased twitch response at concentrations above 50 ng mL-1 that disabled their forward locomotion in liquid culture. In comparision with untreated controls, 10 ng mL-1 thiacloprid perturbed the chemosensory ability of C. elegans such that the nematodes no longer demonstrated positive chemotaxis towards a NaCl chemo-attractant, reducing their chemotaxis index from +0.48 to near to zero. Nematodes also exhibited a locomotion characteristic of those devoid of chemo-attraction, making significantly more pirouetting turns of ≥90° than the untreated controls. Compared to the untreated controls, expression of the endocytosis-associated gene, Rab-10, was also increased in C. elegans that had developed to adulthood in the presence of 10 ng mL-1 thiacloprid, suggesting their active engagement in increased recycling of affected cellular components, such as their nAChRs. Thus, even residual, low levels of this less potent neonicotinoid that may be found in field ground-water had measurable effects on a beneficial soil organism which may have environmental and ecological implications that are currently poorly understood.