Analysis of CYPIA1 Expression in Cetacean Tissue Samples

John Stegeman, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This is a proposal to determine levels of expression of cytochrome P450 1A1
(CYP1A1) in tissues of the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), and
other cetacean species as needed, possibly including sperm whale (Physeter
macrocephalus), with such tissues obtained from animals in the Gulf of Mexico or
other areas of interest to NOAA. The levels of CYP1A1 are induced (increased) in
tissues and cells of mammals including bottlenose dolphin and sperm whale
exposed to various types of chemicals, including many hydrocarbons that occur in
petroleum. Thus, CYP1A1 expression is a marker for exposure of animals to these
chemicals, including petroleum. Tissues of interest for examination initially will be
skin biopsies, with material from the tissues to be provided by NOAA personnel for
purposes of these measurements. The measurement of CYP1A1 expression will be
by two methods, immunohistochemistry and quantitative polymerase chain
reaction. These are complementary approaches that, together with data on location
and timing of sample collection, will provide strong inference regarding exposure of
bottlenose dolphin to petroleum hydrocarbons.