(248ap) Monitoring the Effect of Environmental Exposure on Mammalian Development
Environment chemicals are a common concern for developmental health. Exposure to heavy metals, lead (Pb), in particular is known to be affiliated with cognitive dysfunction, and neurological damage. Pb persists in the environment through water, air and soil. Although the toxicity has been well studied, it is recent that researchers realize that Pb can affect cell development via an epigenetic mechanism. Our study focus on understanding the effect of Pb exposure on the maintenance of cellular methylation pattern which encode for gene regulation. We evaluated the effect of Pb on methyltransferases activity, using different assays. The effect of Pb exposure on embryo development was also characterized using a zebrafrish animal model. A direct correlation between Pb exposure concentration and cellular methylation pattern was observed. The molecular mechanism that leads to altered cellular methylation pattern will also be discussed.