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Gokirmak, T, Campanale JP, Shipp LE, Moy GW, Tao HC, Hamdoun A.  2012.  Localization and Substrate Selectivity of Sea Urchin Multidrug (MDR) Efflux Transporters. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 287:43876-43883.   10.1074/jbc.M112.424879   AbstractWebsite

In this study, we cloned, expressed and functionally characterized Stronglycentrotus purpuratus (Sp) ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters. This screen identified three multidrug resistance (MDR) transporters with functional homology to the major types of MDR transporters found in humans. When overexpressed in embryos, the apical transporters Sp-ABCB1a, ABCB4a, and ABCG2a can account for as much as 87% of the observed efflux activity, providing a robust assay for their substrate selectivity. Using this assay, we found that sea urchin MDR transporters export canonical MDR susbtrates such as calcein-AM, bodipy-verapamil, bodipy-vinblastine, and mitoxantrone. In addition, we characterized the impact of nonconservative substitutions in the primary sequences of drug binding domains of sea urchin versus murine ABCB1 by mutation of Sp-ABCB1a and treatment of embryos with stereoisomeric cyclic peptide inhibitors (QZ59 compounds). The results indicated that two substitutions in transmembrane helix 6 reverse stereoselectivity of Sp-ABCB1a for QZ59 enantiomers compared with mouse ABCB1a. This suggests that subtle changes in the primary sequence of transporter drug binding domains could fine-tune substrate specificity through evolution.

Gokirmak, T, Shipp LE, Campanale JP, Nicklisch SCT, Hamdoun A.  2014.  Transport in technicolor: Mapping ATP-binding cassette transporters in sea urchin embryos. Molecular Reproduction and Development. 81:778-793.   10.1002/mrd.22357   AbstractWebsite

One quarter of eukaryotic genes encode membrane proteins. These include nearly 1,000 transporters that translocate nutrients, signaling molecules, and xenobiotics across membranes. While it is well appreciated that membrane transport is critical for development, the specific roles of many transporters have remained cryptic, in part because of their abundance and the diversity of their substrates. Multidrug resistance ATP-binding cassette (ABC) efflux transporters are one example of cryptic membrane proteins. Although most organisms utilize these ABC transporters during embryonic development, many of these transporters have broad substrate specificity, and their developmental functions remain incompletely understood. Here, we review advances in our understanding of ABC transporters in sea urchin embryos, and methods developed to spatially and temporally map these proteins. These studies reveal that multifunctional transporters are required for signaling, homeostasis, and protection of the embryo, and shed light on how they are integrated into ancestral developmental pathways recapitulated in disease. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 81: 778-793, 2014. (c) 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Gokirmak, T, Campanale JP, Reitzel AM, Shipp LE, Moy GW, Hamdoun A.  2016.  Functional diversification of sea urchin ABCC1 (MRP1) by alternative splicing. American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology. 310:C911-C920.   10.1152/ajpcell.00029.2016   AbstractWebsite

The multidrug resistance protein (MRP) family encodes a diverse repertoire of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters with multiple roles in development, disease, and homeostasis. Understanding MRP evolution is central to unraveling their roles in these diverse processes. Sea urchins occupy an important phylogenetic position for understanding the evolution of vertebrate proteins and have been an important invertebrate model system for study of ABC transporters. We used phylogenetic analyses to examine the evolution of MRP transporters and functional approaches to identify functional forms of sea urchin MRP1 (also known as SpABCC1). SpABCC1, the only MRP homolog in sea urchins, is co-orthologous to human MRP1, MRP3, and MRP6 (ABCC1, ABCC3, and ABCC6) transporters. However, efflux assays revealed that alternative splicing of exon 22, a region critical for substrate interactions, could diversify functions of sea urchin MRP1. Phylogenetic comparisons also indicate that while MRP1, MRP3, and MRP6 transporters potentially arose from a single transporter in basal deuterostomes, alternative splicing appears to have been the major mode of functional diversification in invertebrates, while duplication may have served a more important role in vertebrates. These results provide a deeper understanding of the evolutionary origins of MRP transporters and the potential mechanisms used to diversify their functions in different groups of animals.

Goldstone, JV, Hamdoun A, Cole BJ, Howard-Ashby M, Nebert DW, Scally M, Dean M, Epel D, Hahn ME, Stegeman JJ.  2006.  The chemical defensome: Environmental sensing and response genes in the Strongylocentrotus purpuratus genome. Developmental Biology. 300:366-384.   10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.08.066   AbstractWebsite

Metazoan genomes contain large numbers of genes that participate in responses to environmental stressors. We surveyed the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus genome for homologs of gene families thought to protect against chemical stressors; these genes collectively comprise the 'chemical defensome.' Chemical defense genes include cytochromes P450 and other oxidases, various conjugating enzymes, ATP-dependent efflux transporters, oxidative detoxification proteins, and transcription factors that regulate these genes. Together such genes account for more than 400 genes in the sea urchin genome. The transcription factors include homologs of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, hypoxia-inducible factor, nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2, heat shock factor, and nuclear hormone receptors, which regulate stress-response genes in vertebrates. Some defense gene families, including the ABCC, the UGT, and the CYP families, have undergone expansion in the urchin relative to other deuterostome genomes, whereas the stress sensor gene families do not show such expansion. More than half of the defense genes are expressed during embryonic or larval life stages, indicating their importance during development. This genome-wide survey of chemical defense genes in the sea urchin reveals evolutionary conservation of this network combined with lineage-specific diversification that together suggest the importance of these chemical stress sensing and response mechanisms in early deuterostomes. These results should facilitate future studies on the evolution of chemical defense gene networks and the role of these networks in protecting embryos from chemical stress during development. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.