The invertebrate model C. elegans will be utilized to assess the (geno)toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) extracted from contaminated environmental sources (air & soil). Wild-type and transgenic nematodes will be used to explore (in vivo) the time- and -dose resolved responses to a suit of PAHs.
Exposure will be further assessed by defining the frequency of stable pre-mutagenic DNA adducts and oxidative damage to DNA will be evaluated via the Comet assay. Whole genome chip technology will be applied to define the transcriptional fingerprint of PAH exposure and key responses validated by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and by RNA interference (RNAi).
These studies will define relationships between toxicological end-points and gene expression pattern (Toxicogenomics), predict toxic responses, and identify the underlying toxicity mechanisms.