This is a Shannon Award providing partial support for the research projects that fall short of the assigned institute's funding range but are in the margin of excellence. The Shannon Award is intended to provide support to test the feasibility of the approach; develop further tests and refine research techniques; perform secondary analysis of available data sets; or conduct discrete projects that can demonstrate the PI's research capabilities or lend additional weight to an already meritorious application. The abstract below is taken from the original document submitted by the principal investigator. The long-range goal of this research project is to develop a biological monitor of aquatic environmental pollution. Specifically, we propose to produce lines of transgenic fish in which DNA response elements that respond to a wide variety of environmental pollutants are able to activate an easily assayable reporter gene. We have chosen the response elements of the CYP1A1 (cytochrome P1/450), NMO1 (NAD[P]H:menadione oxidoreductase; DT diaphorase; quinone reductase; azo dye reductase) and MT (metallothionein) genes. In the mammal, the CYP1A1 gene is known to be controlled by aromatic hydrocarbon response elements (AhREs) that respond to a wide variety of polycyclic hydrocarbons and halogenated planar molecules such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD; dioxin) and polychlorinated biphenyls. The mammalian NMO1 gene is known to respond to quinones and a wide variety of other oxidants (potent electrophiles) via an electrophile response element (EpRE). The mammalian (as well as trout) MT gene is known to be regulated by a metal response element (MRE) and respond to heavy metals such as mercury, copper, nickel, cadmium and zinc. For the 3 years of this grant application, we propose to: [1] determine the ability of AhRE, EpRE or MRE sequences from well- characterized mouse and trout polycyclic hydrocarbon-, oxidant-, and metal-responsive gene regulatory regions to modulate transcription of the luciferase (luc) gene in zebrafish cell cultures in response to these pollutants; and [2] generate transgenic zebrafish in which the luc gene is expressed, in order to define the limits of luminescence detection in living adult albino zebrafish. The final product of this project will be a sentinel for biological monitoring of environmental pollution capable of differentiating chemical classes within a complex contaminant mixture with an easily assayable reporter gene. This will provide an alternative model which uses a lower vertebrate for the accurate assessment of environmental hazards to human health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
James A. Shannon Director's Award (R55)
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Toxicology Subcommittee 2 (TOX)
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University of Cincinnati
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Franzi, Lisa M; Bratt, Jennifer M; Williams, Keisha M et al. (2011) Why is particulate matter produced by wildfires toxic to lung macrophages? Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 257:182-8