New inter-correlated genes targeted by diatom-derived polyunsaturated aldehydes in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus

Nadia Ruocco, Anna Maria Fedele, Susan Costantini, Giovanna Romano, Adrianna Ianora, Maria Costantini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The marine environment is continually subjected to the action of stressors (including natural toxins), which represent a constant danger for benthic communities. In the present work using network analysis we identified ten genes on the basis of associated functions (FOXA, FoxG, GFI-1, nodal, JNK, OneCut/Hnf6, TAK1, tcf4, TCF7, VEGF) in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, having key roles in different processes, such as embryonic development and asymmetry, cell fate specification, cell differentiation and morphogenesis, and skeletogenesis. These genes are correlated with three HUB genes, Foxo, Jun and HIF1A. Real Time qPCR revealed that during sea urchin embryonic development the expression levels of these genes were modulated by three diatom-derived polyunsaturated aldehydes (PUAs), decadienal, heptadienal and octadienal. Our findings show how changes in gene expression levels may be used as an early indicator of stressful conditions in the marine environment. The identification of key genes and the molecular pathways in which they are involved represents a fundamental tool in understanding how marine organisms try to afford protection against toxicants, to avoid deleterious consequences and irreversible damages. The genes identified in this work as targets for PUAs can be considered as possible biomarkers to detect exposure to different environmental pollutants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-362
Number of pages8
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017



  • Biomarkers
  • Diatoms
  • Gene network
  • Sea urchin
  • Toxicants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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