Toxic diatom aldehydes affect defence gene networks in sea urchins

Stefano Varrella, Giovanna Romano, Susan Costantini, Nadia Ruocco, Adrianna Ianora, Matt G. Bentley, Maria Costantini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marine organisms possess a series of cellular strategies to counteract the negative effects of toxic compounds, including the massive reorganization of gene expression networks. Here we report the modulated dose-dependent response of activated genes by diatom polyunsaturated aldehydes (PUAs) in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. PUAs are secondary metabolites deriving from the oxidation of fatty acids, inducing deleterious effects on the reproduction and development of planktonic and benthic organisms that feed on these unicellular algae and with anti-cancer activity. Our previous results showed that PUAs target several genes, implicated in different functional processes in this sea urchin. Using interactomic Ingenuity Pathway Analysis we now show that the genes targeted by PUAs are correlated with four HUB genes, NF-κB, p53, δ-2-catenin and HIF1A, which have not been previously reported for P. lividus. We propose a working model describing hypothetical pathways potentially involved in toxic aldehyde stress response in sea urchins. This represents the first report on gene networks affected by PUAs, opening new perspectives in understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying the response of benthic organisms to diatom exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0149734
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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