The State-of-the Art of Environmental Toxicogenomics: Challenges and Perspectives of "Omics" Approaches Directed to Toxicant Mixtures

Carla Martins, Kristian Dreij, Pedro M. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The last decade witnessed extraordinary advances in "omics" methods, particularly transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics, enabling toxicologists to integrate toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics with mechanistic insights on the mode-of-action of noxious chemicals, single or combined. The toxicology of mixtures is, nonetheless, a most challenging enterprise, especially for environmental toxicologists and ecotoxicologists, who invariably deal with chemical mixtures, many of which contain unknowns. Despite costs and demanding computations, the systems toxicology framework, of which "omics" is a major component, endeavors extracting adverse outcome pathways for complex mixtures. Still, the interplay between the multiple components of gene expression and cell metabolism tends to be overlooked. As an example, the proteome allocates DNA methyltransferases whose altered transcription or loss of function by action of chemicals can have a global impact on gene expression in the cell. On the other hand, chemical insult can produce reactive metabolites and radicals that can intercalate or bind to DNA as well as to enzymes and structural proteins, compromising their activity. These examples illustrate the importance of exploring multiple "omes" and the purpose of "omics" and multi-"omics" for building truly predictive models of hazard and risk. Here we will review the state-of-the-art of toxicogenomics highlighting successes, shortcomings and perspectives for next-generation environmental toxicologists.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4718
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • adverse outcome pathways
  • co-exposure
  • environmental risk assessment
  • molecular toxicology
  • systems biology

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