Cell stress & chaperones

Stress response gene activation protects sea urchin embryos exposed to X-rays.

PMID 21720812


We used Paracentrotus lividus sea urchin embryos, a well-established model in developmental biology and ecotoxicology, for investigation on stress/anti-apoptotic protein expression elicited in response to harmful ionizing radiation, such as X-rays. We evaluated the acute effects of a high-dose exposure (5 Gy) on P. lividus analyzing by Western blotting the accumulation levels of HSP60, HSP70, BAG3 and a putative p63 at 24 and 48 h after irradiation. We found an increase in the HSP70, BAG3, and p63 protein levels only 48 h after irradiation, whereas no HSP60 increase was detected either at 24 or 48 h. Levels of the mRNA coding for HSP70 and p63 were also investigated by relative RT-PCR and were found to increase 24 h after irradiation, returning to their initial levels at 48 h. Results demonstrate the presence of an adaptive regulatory mechanism operating at the transcriptional level at 24 h, followed by a translational activation at 48 h post-irradiation. In conclusion, our findings confirm the sea urchin embryo as a sensible bioindicator of cell damage and we propose this model for studies on the protective pathways activated in response to X-rays. The novel result of the involvement of BAG3 and p63 in the response to X-rays, never tested so far in any other embryonic system, opens the way for their use as biomarkers of X-ray hazards.