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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.

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.

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.

Roepke, TA, Hamdoun AM, Cherr GN.  2006.  Increase in multidrug transport activity is associated with oocyte maturation in sea stars. Development Growth & Differentiation. 48:559-573.   10.1111/j.1440-169x.2006.00893.x   AbstractWebsite

In this study, we report on the presence of efflux transporter activity before oocyte maturation in sea stars and its upregulation after maturation. This activity is similar to the multidrug resistance (MDR) activity mediated by ATP binding cassette (ABC) efflux transporters. In sea star oocytes the efflux activity, as measured by exclusion of calcein-am, increased two-fold 3 h post-maturation. Experiments using specific and non-specific dyes and inhibitors demonstrated that the increase in transporter activity involves an ABCB protein, P-glycoprotein (P-gp), and an ABCC protein similar to the MDR-associated protein (MRP)-like transporters. Western blots using an antibody directed against mammalian P-gp recognized a 45 kDa protein in sea star oocytes that increased in abundance during maturation. An antibody directed against sea urchin ABCC proteins (MRP) recognized three proteins in immature oocytes and two in mature oocytes. Experiments using inhibitors suggest that translation and microtubule function are both required for post-maturation increases in transporter activity. Immunolabeling revealed translocation of stored ABCB proteins to the plasma cell membrane during maturation, and this translocation coincided with increased transport activity. These MDR transporters serve protective roles in oocytes and eggs, as demonstrated by sensitization of the oocytes to the maturation inhibitor, vinblastine, by MRP and PGP-specific transporter inhibitors.