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Mar. Drugs 2014, 12(4), 2089-2113; doi:10.3390/md12042089

Molecular Response to Toxic Diatom-Derived Aldehydes in the Sea Urchin Paracentrotus lividus

1 Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, Naples 80121, Italy 2 Dove Marine Laboratory, School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 February 2014 / Revised: 21 March 2014 / Accepted: 25 March 2014 / Published: 4 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and New Perspectives in Marine Biotechnology)
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Diatoms are dominant photosynthetic organisms in the world’s oceans and represent a major food source for zooplankton and benthic filter-feeders. However, their beneficial role in sustaining marine food webs has been challenged after the discovery that they produce secondary metabolites, such as polyunsaturated aldehydes (PUAs), which negatively affect the reproductive success of many invertebrates. Here, we report the effects of two common diatom PUAs, heptadienal and octadienal, which have never been tested before at the molecular level, using the sea urchin, Paracentrotus lividus, as a model organism. We show that both PUAs are able to induce teratogenesis (i.e., malformations), as already reported for decadienal, the better-studied PUA of this group. Moreover, post-recovery experiments show that embryos can recover after treatment with all three PUAs, indicating that negative effects depend both on PUA concentrations and the exposure time of the embryos to these metabolites. We also identify the time range during which PUAs exert the greatest effect on sea urchin embryogenesis. Finally, we report the expression levels of thirty one genes (having a key role in a broad range of functional responses, such as stress, development, differentiation, skeletogenesis and detoxification processes) in order to identify the common targets affected by PUAs and their correlation with morphological abnormalities. This study opens new perspectives for understanding how marine organisms afford protection from environmental toxicants through an integrated network of genes.
Keywords: aldehydes; molecular targets; sea urchin; teratogenesis aldehydes; molecular targets; sea urchin; teratogenesis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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Varrella, S.; Romano, G.; Ianora, A.; Bentley, M.G.; Ruocco, N.; Costantini, M. Molecular Response to Toxic Diatom-Derived Aldehydes in the Sea Urchin Paracentrotus lividus. Mar. Drugs 2014, 12, 2089-2113.

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