Environmental sensing and response genes in cnidaria : the chemical defensome in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis

Thumbnail Image
Goldstone, Jared V.
Linked Authors
Alternative Title
Date Created
Related Materials
Replaced By
Cytochrome P450
Glutathione transferase
ABC transporter
Aromatic hydrocarbon
Nuclear receptor
Superoxide dismutase
Oxidative stress
The starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis has been recently established as a new model system for the study of the evolution of developmental processes, as cnidaria occupy a key evolutionary position at the base of the bilateria. Cnidaria play important roles in estuarine and reef communities, but are exposed to many environmental stressors. Here I describe the genetic components of a ‘chemical defensome’ in the genome of N. vectensis, and review cnidarian molecular toxicology. Gene families that defend against chemical stressors and the transcription factors that regulate these genes have been termed a ‘chemical defensome,’ and include the cytochromes P450 and other oxidases, various conjugating enyzymes, the ATP-dependent efflux transporters, oxidative detoxification proteins, as well as various transcription factors. These genes account for about 1% (266/27200) of the predicted genes in the sea anemone genome, similar to the proportion observed in tunicates and humans, but lower than that observed in sea urchins. While there are comparable numbers of stress-response genes, the stress sensor genes appear to be reduced in N. vectensis relative to many model protostomes and deuterostomes. Cnidarian toxicology is understudied, especially given the important ecological roles of many cnidarian species. New genomic resources should stimulate the study of chemical stress sensing and response mechanisms in cnidaria, and allow us to further illuminate the evolution of chemical defense gene networks.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2008. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Cell Biology and Toxicology 24 (2008): 483-502, doi:10.1007/s10565-008-9107-5.
Embargo Date
Cruise ID
Cruise DOI
Vessel Name