A major objective of the proposed research is to understand the physiological consequences of genetic variability in the human PON1 gene and to identify factors that contribute to the large differences in plasma PON1 levels among individuals. Development of E. coli PON1 expression and purification protocols provides a rapid means for characterizing the effects of sequence variants on the catalytic efficiency of PON1 and at the same time provides sufficient recombinant PON1 protein for toxicology experiments and structure/function studies. Demonstration of the therapeutic potential of recombinant human PON1 for treating cases of acute OP exposure has provided the impetus for Specific Aims 1 and 2 of the proposed research. The research proposed in this application has 5 specific aims. The goal of Specific Aim 1 is to improve the expression and purification protocols for generating native and variant human PON1s in the E. coli expression system. The goal of Specific Aim 2 is to generate PON1 variants that have sufficient catalytic efficiency to protect against exposures to tricresyl phosphate and paraoxon. The goal of Specific Aim 3 is to identify and validate biomarkers for exposure to organophosphorus (OP) compounds. There is a pressing need for biomarkers of exposure that extend the time-frame of exposure analyses beyond the few day window that measuring urinary or blood metabolites provides.
Specific Aim 4 addresses the importance of maternal PON1 status in protecting the fetus from OP (diazoxon) exposure during gestation. The data generated to date indicate that PON1 status is important in determining sensitivity to diazinon/diazoxon and chlorpyrifos/chlorpyrifos oxon.
Specific Aim 5 examines the influence of promoter region epigenetic methylation on PON1 plasma levels. Our research to date has characterized promoter polymorphisms that significantly influence plasma PON1 levels. Identification of approximately 200 new polymorphisms has shown that only 30% of the variability of plasma PON1 levels appears to be dependent on promoter-region polymorphisms. Preliminary examination of methylation of CpGs in the PON1 promoter region revealed variability that may explain another significant source of regulation. Data from transgenic PON1 mouse pedigrees are consistent with this additional level of regulation.

Public Health Relevance

Data generated from this project has assisted the EPA in negotiating a reduction in diazinon and chlorpyrifos exposure. The PON1 status analyses have identified low PON1 status as a risk factor for carotid artery disease and have also identified differences between male Parkinson's patients and controls. Engineering recombinant human PON1 will provide therapeutics for treating nerve agent and insecticide exposures.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Xenobiotic and Nutrient Disposition and Action Study Section (XNDA)
Program Officer
Mcallister, Kimberly A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Washington
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Marsillach, Judit; Suzuki, Stephanie M; Richter, Rebecca J et al. (2014) Human valacyclovir hydrolase/biphenyl hydrolase-like protein is a highly efficient homocysteine thiolactonase. PLoS One 9:e110054
Cole, Toby B; Li, Wan-Fen; Co, Aila L et al. (2014) Repeated gestational exposure of mice to chlorpyrifos oxon is associated with paraoxonase 1 (PON1) modulated effects in maternal and fetal tissues. Toxicol Sci 141:409-22
Strelitz, Jean; Engel, Lawrence S; Keifer, Matthew C (2014) Blood acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase as biomarkers of cholinesterase depression among pesticide handlers. Occup Environ Med 71:842-7
Costa, Lucio G; de Laat, Rian; Dao, Khoi et al. (2014) Paraoxonase-2 (PON2) in brain and its potential role in neuroprotection. Neurotoxicology 43:3-9
Baker, Paul E; Cole, Toby B; Cartwright, Megan et al. (2013) Identifying safer anti-wear triaryl phosphate additives for jet engine lubricants. Chem Biol Interact 203:257-64
Kim, Daniel Seung; Marsillach, Judit; Furlong, Clement E et al. (2013) Pharmacogenetics of paraoxonase activity: elucidating the role of high-density lipoprotein in disease. Pharmacogenomics 14:1495-515
Marsillach, Judit; Costa, Lucio G; Furlong, Clement E (2013) Protein adducts as biomarkers of exposure to organophosphorus compounds. Toxicology 307:46-54
Costa, Lucio G; Giordano, Gennaro; Cole, Toby B et al. (2013) Paraoxonase 1 (PON1) as a genetic determinant of susceptibility to organophosphate toxicity. Toxicology 307:115-22
Cole, Toby B; Fisher, Jenna C; Burbacher, Thomas M et al. (2012) Neurobehavioral assessment of mice following repeated postnatal exposure to chlorpyrifos-oxon. Neurotoxicol Teratol 34:311-22
Marsillach, Judit; Richter, Rebecca J; Kim, Jerry H et al. (2011) Biomarkers of organophosphorus (OP) exposures in humans. Neurotoxicology 32:656-60

Showing the most recent 10 out of 50 publications