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Uranium Uptake in Paracentrotus lividus Sea Urchin, Accumulation and Speciation

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journal contribution
posted on 12.06.2019, 00:00 by Benjamin Reeves, Maria Rosa Beccia, Pier Lorenzo Solari, Danil E. Smiles, David K. Shuh, Catherine Berthomieu, Didier Marcellin, Nicolas Bremond, Luisa Mangialajo, Sophie Pagnotta, Marguerite Monfort, Christophe Moulin, Christophe Den Auwer
Uranium speciation and bioaccumulation were investigated in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. Through accumulation experiments in a well-controlled aquarium followed by ICP-OES analysis, the quantification of uranium in the different compartments of the sea urchin was performed. Uranium is mainly distributed in the test (skeletal components), as it is the major constituent of the sea urchin, but in terms of quantity of uranium per gram of compartment, the following rating: intestinal tract > gonads ≫ test, was obtained. Combining both extended X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopic analysis, it was possible to identify two different forms of uranium in the sea urchin, one in the test, as a carbonato-calcium complex, and the second one in the gonads and intestinal tract, as a protein complex. Toposome is a major calcium-binding transferrin-like protein contained within the sea urchin. EXAFS data fitting of both contaminated organs in vivo and the uranium-toposome complex from protein purified out of the gonads revealed that it is suspected to complex uranium in gonads and intestinal tract. This hypothesis is also supported by the results from two imaging techniques, i.e., Transmission Electron Microscopy and Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy. This thorough investigation of uranium uptake in sea urchin is one of the few attempts to assess the speciation in a living marine organism in vivo.