Proteomic changes in the solitary ascidian Herdmania momus following exposure to the anticonvulsant medication carbamazepine

Gal Navon, Lion Novak, Noa Shenkar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The increasing use of pharmaceuticals in human and veterinary medicine, along with their poor removal rates at wastewater treatment facilities is resulting in the chronic release of pharmaceutically-active compounds (PhACs) into the marine environment, where they pose a threat to non-target organisms. A useful approach, as applied in the current study for assessing the effects of PhACs on non-target organisms, is the proteomic approach: the large-scale study of an organism's proteins. Using ‘shotgun’ proteomics, we identified differentially-expressed proteins based on peptide fragments in the solitary ascidian, Herdmania momus, following a 14-day laboratory experimental exposure to the PhAC carbamazepine (CBZ), an anticonvulsant and antidepressant medication, frequently detected in the aquatic environment. Individuals were exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations: 5 or 10 µg/L of CBZ, in addition to a control treatment. Out of 199 identified proteins, 24 were differentially expressed (12%) between the treatment groups, and thus can potentially be developed as biomarkers for CBZ contamination. Ascidians’ phylogenetic position within the closest sister group to vertebrates presents an advantage in examining the pathological effects of PhACs on vertebrate-related organs and systems. Together with the world-wide distribution of some model ascidian species, and their ability to flourish in pristine and polluted sites, they provide a promising tool through which to study the extent and effects of PhAC contamination on marine organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105886
JournalAquatic Toxicology
StatePublished - Aug 2021


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation2182/15


    • Biomarkers
    • Carbamazepine
    • Pharmaceutical residues
    • Pharmaceutically-active compounds
    • Proteomics
    • Tunicates


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