Author(s): Kelley ML, Van Beneden RJ
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Abstract Softshell clams (Mya arenaria) were exposed to dioxin in controlled laboratory experiments in order to study their molecular response to dioxin exposure. A complementary DNA (cDNA) fragment with sequence similarity to E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase appeared to be upregulated in dioxin-exposed clams compared to controls. E3 covalently ligates ubiquitin onto a protein, targeting it for degradation. Our findings suggest that the ubiquitin-mediated proteolytic pathway in the softshell clam may be activated by dioxin exposure. Because the clam E3-predicted amino acid sequence is most similar to a specific vertebrate E3 protein (E6-AP), we hypothesize that dioxin may stimulate ubiquitin-mediated degradation of cell-cycle regulatory proteins, such as the tumor suppressor p53, which promotes cell proliferation. This pathway has been observed in human cervical cancer. Partial cDNA sequence of the clam E3 has been identified using the differential display polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) and RACE (Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends) PCR; the full-length sequence is currently being determined. Discovering the molecular mechanism(s) stimulated by dioxin exposure in this invertebrate model may contribute to a better understanding of the effects of dioxin on marine organisms.
This article was published in Mar Environ Res
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology