The use of cadmium sulphide quantum dot (CdS QD)-enabled products has become increasingly widespread. The prospect of their release in the environment is raising concerns. Here we have used the yeast model Saccharomyces cerevisiae to determine the potential impact of CdS QD nanoparticles on living organisms. Proteomic analyses and cell viability assays performed after 9 h exposure revealed expression of proteins involved in oxidative stress and reduced lethality, respectively, whereas oxidative stress declined, and lethality increased after 24 h incubation in the presence of CdS QDs. Quantitative proteomics using the iTRAQ approach (isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation) revealed that key proteins involved in essential biological pathways were differentially regulated over the time course of the experiment. At 9 h, most of the glycolytic functions increased, and the abundance of the number of heat shock proteins increased. This contrasts with the situation at 24 h where glycolytic functions, some heat shock proteins as well as oxidative phosphorylation and ATP synthesis were down-regulated. It can be concluded from our data that cell exposure to CdS QDs provokes a metabolic shift from respiration to fermentation, comparable to the situation reported in some cancer cell.
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