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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.

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.

Cole, BJ, Hamdoun A, Epel D.  2013.  Cost, effectiveness and environmental relevance of multidrug transporters in sea urchin embryos. Journal of Experimental Biology. 216:3896-3905.   10.1242/jeb.090522   AbstractWebsite

ATP-binding cassette transporters protect cells via efflux of xenobiotics and endogenous byproducts of detoxification. While the cost of this ATP-dependent extrusion is known at the molecular level, i.e. the ATP used for each efflux event, the overall cost to a cell or organism of operating this defense is unclear, especially as the cost of efflux changes depending on environmental conditions. During prolonged exposure to xenobiotics, multidrug transporter activity could be costly and ineffective because effluxed substrate molecules are not modified in the process and could thus undergo repeated cycles of efflux and re-entry. Here we use embryos of the purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, as a model to determine transport costs and benefits under environmentally relevant xenobiotic concentrations. Strikingly, our results show that efflux transporter activity costs less than 0.2% of total ATP usage, as a proportion of oxygen consumption. The benefits of transport, defined as the reduction in substrate accumulation due to transporter activity, depended largely, but not entirely, on the rate of passive flux of each substrate across the plasma membrane. One of the substrates tested exhibited rapid membrane permeation coupled with high rates of efflux, thus inducing rapid and futile cycles of efflux followed by re-entry of the substrate. This combination significantly reduced transporter effectiveness as a defense and increased costs even at relatively low substrate concentrations. Despite these effects with certain substrates, our results show that efflux transporters are a remarkably effective and low-cost first line of defense against exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of xenobiotics.

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.

Bosnjak, I, Uhlinger KR, Heim W, Smital T, Franekic-Colic J, Coale K, Epel D, Hamdoun A.  2009.  Multidrug Efflux Transporters Limit Accumulation of Inorganic, but Not Organic, Mercury in Sea Urchin Embryos. Environmental Science & Technology. 43:8374-8380.   10.1021/es901677r   AbstractWebsite

Mercuric compounds are persistent global pollutants that accumulate in marine organisms and in humans who consume them. While the chemical cycles and speciation of mercury in the oceans are relatively well described, the cellular mechanisms that govern which forms of mercury accumulate in cells and why they persist are less understood. In this study we examined the role of multidrug efflux transport in the differential accumulation of inorganic (HgCl(2)) and organic (CH(3)HgCl) mercury in sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) embryos. We found that inhibition of MRP/ABCC-type transporters increases intracellular accumulation of inorganic mercury but had no effect on accumulation of organic mercury. Similarly, pharmacological inhibition of metal conjugating enzymes by ligands GST/GSH significantly increases this antimitotic potency of inorganic mercury, but had no effect on the potency of organic mercury. Our results point to MRP-mediated elimination of inorganic mercury conjugates as a cellular basis for differences in the accumulation and potency of the two major forms of mercury found in marine environments.