Toxics, Vol. 10, Pages 6: From Extrapolation to Precision Chemical Hazard Assessment: The Ecdysone Receptor Case Study

Toxics doi: 10.3390/toxics10010006

Raquel Ruivo
João Sousa
Teresa Neuparth
Olivier Geffard
Arnaud Chaumot
L. Filipe C. Castro
Davide Degli-Esposti
Miguel M. Santos

Hazard assessment strategies are often supported by extrapolation of damage probabilities, regarding chemical action and species susceptibilities. Yet, growing evidence suggests that an adequate sampling of physiological responses across a representative taxonomic scope is of paramount importance. This is particularly relevant for Nuclear Receptors (NR), a family of transcription factors, often triggered by ligands and thus, commonly exploited by environmental chemicals. Within NRs, the ligand-induced Ecdysone Receptor (EcR) provides a remarkable example. Long regarded as arthropod specific, this receptor has been extensively targeted by pesticides, seemingly innocuous to non-target organisms. Yet, current evidence clearly suggests a wider presence of EcR orthologues across metazoan lineages, with unknown physiological consequences. Here, we address the state-of-the-art regarding the phylogenetic distribution and functional characterization of metazoan EcRs and provide a critical analysis of the potential disruption of such EcRs by environmental chemical exposure. Using EcR as a case study, hazard assessment strategies are also discussed in view of the development of a novel “precision hazard assessment paradigm.

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