Toxicological and ecological implications of biotransformation enzymes in the tropical teleost Chaetodon capistratus Academic Article uri icon


  • Hepatic cytochromes P450 (phase I monooxygenases) and glutathione transferases (phase II conjugating enzymes) were investigated in Chaetodon capistratus (Linnaeus) collected in Florida and Belize in June and December 1991, respectively. These biotransformation enzymes play major roles in the detoxification of xenobiotics by converting lipophilic chemicals to more hydrophilic, readily excretable metabolites. Content of total microsomal P450 (0.501 to 0.821 nmol mg(-1) microsomal protein) and rates of NADPH-cytochrome c (P450) reductase (270.7 to 330.2 nmol min(-1) mg(-1) microsomal protein) and glutathione transferase (2.81 to 3.12 mu g min(-1) mg(-1) cytosolic protein) in these fish were greater than in most untreated fish species, i.e., fish that have not been exposed to PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) or PCBs (polycyclic biphenyls). Ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) rates (0.029 to 0.171 nmol min(-1) mg(-1)) were also comparable to those in most untreated marine fish. Immunoblot analysis with monoclonal antibody (MAb) 1-12-3 to scup P450E (the EROD catalyst and a teleost representative of the PAH-inducible CYP1A gene subfamily) showed slight amounts of cross-reacting protein in C. capiskratus liver microsomes. Hepatic CYP1A content and EROD activity did not differ significantly between fish collected in Florida and Belize, suggesting that the two sites differed little in contamination by CYP1A inducers. Immunochemical analyses with polyclonal antibodies to scup P450B (a teleost representative of the CYP2B subfamily) and human CYP3A4 cross-reacted strongly with C. capistratus hepatic proteins. The CYP2B and CYP3A subfamilies in mammals are believed to have partially evolved in response to toxic dietary allelochemicals. C. capistratus regularly feeds on terpenoid-rich gorgonian corals, suggesting that biotransformation enzymes may be involved in the metabolism of dietary allelochemicals as well as anthropogenic xenobiotics in this species.

publication date

  • April 1994