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Gene expression correlated with delay in shell formation in larval Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) exposed to experimental ocean acidification provides insights into shell formation mechanisms

Journal article
Authors Pierre De Wit
Evan Durland
Alexander Ventura
Christopher J Langdon
Published in BMC Genomics
Volume 19
ISSN 1471-2164
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of marine sciences
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Links https://bmcgenomics.biomedcentral.c...
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-018-...
Keywords Crassostrea gigas, Gene expression, Larvae, Ocean acidification, Aragonite, Calcification
Subject categories Genetics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Evolutionary Biology

Abstract

Background: Despite recent work to characterize gene expression changes associated with larval development in oysters, the mechanism by which the larval shell is first formed is still largely unknown. In Crassostrea gigas, this shell forms within the first 24 h post fertilization, and it has been demonstrated that changes in water chemistry can cause delays in shell formation, shell deformations and higher mortality rates. In this study, we use the delay in shell formation associated with exposure to CO2-acidified seawater to identify genes correlated with initial shell deposition. Results: By fitting linear models to gene expression data in ambient and low aragonite saturation treatments, we are able to isolate 37 annotated genes correlated with initial larval shell formation, which can be categorized into 1) ion transporters, 2) shell matrix proteins and 3) protease inhibitors. Clustering of the gene expression data into co-expression networks further supports the result of the linear models, and also implies an important role of dynein motor proteins as transporters of cellular components during the initial shell formation process. Conclusions: Using an RNA-Seq approach with high temporal resolution allows us to identify a conceptual model for how oyster larval calcification is initiated. This work provides a foundation for further studies on how genetic variation in these identified genes could affect fitness of oyster populations subjected to future environmental changes, such as ocean acidification.

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