Methods for toxicology studies in echinoderm embryos and larvae.


Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California-Davis, Bodega Bay, CA, United States; Departments of Environmental Toxicology and Nutrition, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


Sea urchin embryos have been used in toxicological studies for many decades as they are an accepted model system for investigations of chemicals that impact development. Here we describe methods for using pulse-chase experiments to study the impacts of environmental chemicals on early development as well as development of larvae. This includes the application of fluorescence plate assays with living embryos and fluorescent probes to assess cell functions (mitochondrial membrane potential, lysosome abundance, reactive oxygen species, and esterase activity) based on total cell numbers. We also describe how to use some of these fluorescent probes in embryos/larvae with confocal microscopy for the localization of cellular damage in response to toxics exposure. Finally, we assess skeleton formation in sea urchin larvae and present methods for using polarized light microscopy to examine spicule morphology.


Embryo development,Sea urchin,Skeletal abnormalities,Toxicants,Toxicology,