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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Activator protein-1 (AP-1) DNA binding activity is induced by hydroxyurea in organogenesis stage mouse embryos.

Hydroxyurea is a potent teratogen; free radical scavengers or antioxidants reduce its teratogenicity. Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) and NF-kappaB are redox-sensitive transcription factors with important roles in normal development and the stress response. This study was designed to determine if exposure to teratogenic doses of hydroxyurea induces oxidative stress and alters gene expression by activating these transcription factors. Pregnant mice were treated with saline or hydroxyurea (400, 500, or 600 mg/kg) on gestation day 9 (GD 9) and killed either on GD 9, 0.5, 3, or 6 h after treatment, to assess oxidative stress and transcription factor activities, or on GD 18, to assess fetal development. Exposure to 400 mg/kg hydroxyurea did not affect the progeny, whereas exposure to 500 or 600 mg/kg resulted in dose-dependent increases in fetal resorptions and malformations, including curly tails, abnormal limbs (oligodactyly, hemimelia, and amelia), and short ribs. Hydroxyurea did not induce oxidative stress, as assessed by the ratio of oxidized to reduced glutathione, nor did it alter NF-kappaB DNA binding activity in the GD 9 conceptus. In contrast, exposure to hydroxyurea at any dose increased AP-1 DNA binding activity in embryos and yolk sacs 0.5 or 3 h after treatment. Hydroxyurea-induced c-Fos heterodimer activity in the embryo peaked 3-4-fold above control at 3 h and remained elevated by 6 h; in contrast, the activity of c-Jun dimers was not altered by drug exposure. A dramatic and region-specific increase in c-Fos immunoreactivity was found in hydroxyurea-treated embryos. The induction of AP-1 DNA binding activity by hydroxyurea represents an early, sensitive marker of the embryonic response to insult.[1]


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