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Hamdoun, A, Epel D.  2007.  Embryo stability and vulnerability in an always changing world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 104:1745-1750.   10.1073/pnas.0610108104   AbstractWebsite

Contrary to the view that embryos and larvae are the most fragile stages of life, development is stable under real-world conditions. Early cleavage embryos are prepared for environmental vagaries by having high levels of cellular defenses already present in the egg before fertilization. Later in development, adaptive responses to the environment either buffer stress or produce alternative developmental phenotypes. These buffers, defenses, and alternative pathways set physiological limits for development under expected conditions; teratology occurs when embryos encounter unexpected environmental changes and when stress exceeds these limits. Of concern is that rapid anthropogenic changes to the environment are beyond the range of these protective mechanisms.

Hamdoun, AM, Griffin FJ, Cherr GN.  2002.  Tolerance to biodegraded crude oil in marine invertebrate embryos and larvae is associated with expression of a multixenobiotic resistance transporter. Aquatic Toxicology. 61:127-140.   10.1016/s0166-445x(02)00050-4   AbstractWebsite

The toxicity of water-soluble fractions of biodegraded crude oil (BWSF) to embryos and larvae of two marine invertebrates, the white sea urchin (Lytechinus anamesus) and the fat innkeeper (Urechis caupo), was studied. Santa Barbara Channel crude oil was artificially weathered and subjected to biodegradation using a mixed microbe culture obtained from natural oil seep sites. The degradation culture inoculated with seep sediment microbes accumulated 43.7 mug/l water-soluble hydrocarbons. In contrast water-soluble fractions from the non-degraded cultures (NWSF) only accumulated 3.05 mug/l. BWSF proved deleterious to Lytechinus embryo development at low concentrations (EC50 = 0.33 mg/l) but was essentially non-toxic to Urechis embryos/larvae up to 3.0 mg/l. An established mechanism for handling of a wide array of xenobiotics in Urechis embryos is the multixenobiotoic resistance transporter multixenobiotic response (MXR, also known as multidrug resistance, MDR). This mechanism is primarily mediated by ATP-dependent, efflux pumps that extrude a wide array of xenobiotic compounds. In this study, we show that Lytechinus larvae do not appear to express MXR efflux. protein nor MXR mediated dye efflux capacity. In contrast, BWSF acts as a competitive inhibitor of MXR transport-mediated dye efflux in Urechis larvae. These results suggest that MXR may be an important mechanism for extrusion of the by-products of crude oil degradation by microbes, and that the level of its expression may determine the susceptibility of organisms to degraded oil hydrocarbons. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Hamdoun, AM, Cheney DP, Cherr GN.  2003.  Phenotypic plasticity of HSP70 and HSP70 gene expression in the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas): Implications for thermal limits and induction of thermal tolerance. Biological Bulletin. 205:160-169.   10.2307/1543236   AbstractWebsite

Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas, living at a range of tidal heights, routinely encounter large seasonal fluctuations in temperature. We demonstrate that the thermal limits of oysters are relatively plastic, and that these limits are correlated with changes in the expression of one family of heat-shock proteins (HSP70). Oysters were cultured in the intertidal zone, at two tidal heights, and monitored for changes in expression of cognate (HSC) and inducible (HSP) heat-shock proteins during the progression from spring through winter. We found that the "control" levels (i.e., prior to laboratory heat shock) of HSC77 and HSC72 are positively correlated with increases in ambient temperature and were significantly higher in August than in January. The elevated level of HSCs during the summer was associated with moderate, 2-3 degreesC, increases in the upper thermal limits for survival. We measured concomitant increases in the threshold temperatures (T-on) required for induction of HSP70. Total hsp70 mRNA expression reflected the seasonal changes in the expression of inducible but not cognate members of the HSP70 family of proteins. A potential cost of increased T-on in the summer is that there was no extension of the upper thermal limits for survival (i.e., induction of thermotolerance) after sublethal heat shock at temperatures that were sufficient to induce thermotolerance during the winter months.

Hamdoun, AM, Cherr GN, Roepke TA, Epel D.  2004.  Activation of multidrug efflux transporter activity at fertilization in sea urchin embryos (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus). Developmental Biology. 276:452-462.   10.1016/j.ydbio.2004.09.013   AbstractWebsite

This study presents functional and molecular evidence for acquisition of multidrug transporter-mediated efflux activity as a consequence of fertilization in the sea urchin. Sea urchin eggs and embryos express low levels of efflux transporter genes with homology to the multidrug resistance associated protein (mrp) and permeability glycoprotein (p-gp) families of ABC transporters. The corresponding efflux activity is low in unfertilized eggs but is dramatically upregulated within 25 min of fertilization; the expression of this activity does not involve de novo gene expression and is insensitive to inhibitors of transcription and translation indicating activation of pre-existing transporter protein. Our study, using specific inhibitors of efflux transporters, indicates that the major activity is from one or more mrp-like transporters. The expression of activity at fertilization requires microfilaments, suggesting that the transporters are in vesicles and moved to the surface after fertilization. Pharmacological inhibition of mrp-mediated efflux activity with MK571 sensitizes embryos to the toxic compound vinblastine, confirming that one role for the efflux transport activity is embryo protection from xenobiotics. In addition, inhibition of mrp activity with MK571 alone retards mitosis indicating that mrp-like activity may also be required for early cell divisions. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.