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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.

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.