Staff Profile:Dr Demetris Savva
- Dr Demetris Savva
- Job Title:
- Academic, Exec. Dir. of T & L/Senior Tutor, Harborne Building
- Areas of Interest:
Description of Research Interests:
Our research centres on the application of molecular biological procedures to investigate:
The effects of environmental pollutants on organisms may be monitored in a number of ways and at different levels. Exposure to genotoxic chemicals results in the formation of covalently bound adducts between the genotoxin and the DNA and these may cause mutations and cytogenetic changes. The primary effects on DNA (i.e. adduct formation) may be monitored using 32P-postlabelling, ELISA or HPLC. Secondary effects on DNA (cytogenetic damage, mutation) may be monitored using a number of biomarker assays capable of detecting DNA strand breaks (e.g. by the alkaline unwinding assay or the Comet assay), unscheduled DNA synthesis, micronuclei, chromosome aberrations, sister chromatid exchanges and phenotypic and genotypic changes due to mutation. The sensitivity and specificity of these assays is variable. Recent developments in molecular biology such as DNA fingerprinting and gene amplification by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) offer new possibilities for detecting DNA damage.
In our current research we are examining whether an alternative biomarker assay using DNA fingerprinting by arbitrarily primed PCR (AP-PCR) can show differences in the DNA fingerprints of individual animals exposed to benzo(a)pyrene in the laboratory and of animals from control and from polluted areas. The results indicate that DNA fingerprinting by AP-PCR may offer a useful alternative biomarker assay for the detection of the genotoxic effects of environmental pollutants.Metallothionein regulation in marine invertebrates
Metallothioneins (MTs) are ubiquitous, cysteine-rich, low molecular weight proteins present in a large number of unrelated organisms. In addition to other roles, MTs are believed to be important in neutralising the harmful effects of exposure to toxic elements such as cadmium and mercury. In vertebrates, MTs have been investigated extensively and a search of amino acid and DNA databases reveals a large number of published sequences which show that MT is a polymorphic protein with subclasses and isoforms. In contrast, the metallothionein gene in invertebrates, especially marine ones, has not been studied thoroughly. Invertebrates are known to accumulate toxic heavy metals and marine invertebrates such as the shore crab (Carcinus maenas) have been used as bioindicator organisms for monitoring heavy metal pollution of marine environments. It is, therefore, important to gain a better understanding of the MT genes and proteins in such organisms; it is also important to know how many different MT genes are present in the crab and how they respond to exposure to different metals individually and in combination.
We also aim to characterise the gene and to perform functional analysis of its regulatory region, and to analyse its expression in animals exposed to heavy metals both in the laboratory and in the environment.
- Research groups / Centres:
YNumber of items: 2.
- Sturve, J., Berglund, A., Balk, L., Broeg, K., Bohmert, B., Massey, S., Savva, D., Parkkonen, J., Stephensen, E., Koehler, A. and Forlin, L. (2005) Effects of dredging in Goteborg Harbor, Sweden, assessed by biomarkers in eelpout (Zoarces viviparus). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 24 (8). pp. 1951-1961. ISSN 0730-7268 doi: 10.1897/04-449R1.1
- Page, N., Savva, D., Luke, G. and Simkiss, K. (1991) Transfection of chick cells by non-retroviral DNA. Biochemical Society Transactions, 19 (3). 328S. ISSN 1470-8752
Savva D. (2006) Population studies through DNA fingerprinting. Sixth International Symposium on Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) and on Sub-order Suiformes, Kykkos, Cyprus; October 2006. Abstracts Book: 23.
Savva D, Garcia CB and Arruga MV. (2006) DNA fingerprinting and its use in studies of population restocking. Sixth International Symposium on Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) and on Sub-order Suiformes, Kykkos, Cyprus; October 2006. Abstracts Book: 24.
Garcia CB, Ruscio D, Savva D and Arruga MV. (2005) Molecular method of sexing red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa). XXVII Congress of the International Union of Game Biologists; August 2005.
Savva D, Garcia-Aljaro C, Lawes KP & Swiergosz-Kowalewska R. (2002) Characterisation of DNA probes for the analysis of metallothionein gene expression in the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus). Environment International 28: 139-146.
Savva D, Garcia-Aljaro C, Lawes KP & Swiergosz R. (2001) Cloning and sequencing of bank vole metallothionein I and II genes. Proceedings of the 11th Annual Meeting of SETAC-Europe, Madrid, Spain; May 2001 Abstracts Book: 207 (W/EH011).
Savva D. (2001) The use of arbitrarily primed PCR (AP-PCR) fingerprinting to detect exposure to genotoxic chemicals. International School on the Environment and Health "Xenobiotics – Environment – Human Health", Siena, Italy; October 2001. Proceedings: 155-173.
Savva D & Li B. (2001) Cloning of metallothionein cDNAs in Carcinus maenas. In: Biomarkers in Marine Organisms: A practical Approach. pp 431-438. Edited by P Garrigues, H. Barth, CH Walker & J-F Narbonne. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Walker CH & Savva D. (2001) Biochemical responses in crabs (Carcinus spp) to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as the basis for new biomarker assays. In: Biomarkers in Marine Organisms: A practical Approach. pp 409-429. Edited by P Garrigues, H. Barth, CH Walker & J-F Narbonne. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Atienzar F, Evenden A, Jha A, Savva D & Depledge MH. (2000) Optimised RAPD analysis generates high-quality genomic DNA profiles at high annealing temperature. Biotechniques 28: 52-54.
Li B & Savva D. (2000) Cloning of metallothionein cDNAs and its gene in shore crab (Carcinus maenas). Acta Biochimica et Biophisica Sinica 32: 640-644.
Poliakova OV, Lebedev AT, Petrosyan VS, Hanninen O, Renzoni A, Savva D & Walker C. (2000) Accumulation of persistent organic pollutants in the food chain of Lake Baikal. Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry 75 (3/4): 235-244.
Savva D. (2000) A new molecular technique for detection of genetic damage caused by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons 20: 291-303.
Savva D. (2000) The use of arbitrarily primed PCR (AP-PCR) to detect exposure to genotoxic chemicals. Ecotoxicology 9: 341-353.
Savva D. (2000) Characterisation of two metallothionein cDNAs from the shore crab for use as biomarkers of heavy metal pollution. International School on the Environment and Health "Xenobiotics – Environment – Human Health", Siena, Italy; October 2000. Proceedings: 73-86.
Savva D. (2000) The use of arbitrarily primed PCR (AP-PCR) fingerprinting to detect exposure to genotoxic chemicals. International School on the Environment and Health "Xenobiotics – Environment – Human Health", Siena, Italy; October 2000. Proceedings: 87-105.
Bhalla M, Johnson JD, Holliman RE & Savva D. (1999) Misdiagnosis of Toxoplasma infection: fears unfounded. Journal of Clinical Pathology 52: 468-470.