Bi-directional effects of vitamin B 12 and methotrexate on Daphnia magna fitness and genomic methylation

Fitore Kusari, Alan O'Doherty, Nikolas Hodges, Marcin Wojewodzic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Here we interrogated, using three separate but complementary experimental approaches, the impact of vitamin B12 availability and methotrexate exposure on Daphnia magna, which we hypothesised should have an opposite effect on One carbon metabolism (OCM). OCM is a vital biological process supporting a variety of physiological processes, including DNA methylation. Contrary to mammalian models, this process remains largely unexplored in invertebrates. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the impact of OCM short-term alteration on the fitness and epigenome of the keystone species, Daphnia. We used maternal age at reproduction, brood size and survival rates in combination with DNA methylation sensitive comet assay to determine the effects of vitamin B12 or MTX on fitness and the epigenome. Vitamin B12 had a positive influence on Daphnia fitness and we provide evidence demonstrating that this may be associated with an increased level of genome-wide DNA methylation. Conversely, exposing D. magna to MTX negatively influenced the fitness of the animals and was associated with loss of global DNA methylation, translating in decreased fitness. These results highlight the potential importance of OCM in invertebrates, providing novel evidence supporting a potential role for epigenetic modifications to the genome in D. magna environmental adaptability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11872
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2017


  • Freshwater ecology
  • Limnology


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