Apoptosis during early development of sea urchin.

Maria Carmela Roccheri, Maria Agnello, Simone Filosto

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Apoptosis is a genetic program of cell death that eliminates superfluous or compromised cells during development and adult life of many organisms. In sea urchin embryos, apoptosis is not only a physiological event during larval metamorphosis, but also a process induced by cadmium accumulation or other stressor like TPA (12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate) followed by an increase of temperature to 31°C. Apoptosis is a highly conserved process usually operated by a proteolytic cascade that involves caspase activation by two different pathways: extrinsic and intrinsic. The first one involves membrane death receptors, while the second involves mitochondria. In this work we analyzed the possible involvement of extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways in physiological and stressful conditions in Paracentrotus lividus embryos. By fluorescent TUNEL assays we demonstrate that apoptosis is part of cadmium and TPA+31°C stress response. We find that Cd and TPA+31°C treatments induce apoptosis through caspase-3 activation, while caspase-7 is the main effector of physiological apoptosis. Caspase-10 is active only in physiological apoptosis, while caspase-8 is mainly involved in stress-induced apoptosis. In addition, we did not find any involvement of mitochondria.Moreover we observed, in Cd-treated embryos, a Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) increase, that could be related to the induction of apoptosis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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