Proteomics to study adaptations in marine organisms to environmental stress

Comparisons of proteomic responses of closely related congeners and populations have shown which cellular processes are critical to adapt to environmental stress. For example, several proteomic species comparisons showed that increasing abundances of oxidative stress proteins indicate that reactive oxygen species (ROS) represent a ubiquitous signal and possible co-stressor of warm and cold temperature, acute hyposaline and low pH stress, possibly causing a shift from pro-oxidant NADH-producing to anti-oxidant NADPH-producing and –consuming metabolic pathways. Changes in cytoskeletal and actin-binding proteins in response to several stressors, including ROS, suggest that both are important structural and functional elements in responding to stress. Disruption of protein homeostasis, e.g., increased abundance of molecular chaperones, was severe in response to acute heat stress, inducing proteolysis, but was also observed in response to chronic heat and cold stress and was concentrated to the endoplasmic reticulum during hyposaline stress. Small GTPases affecting vesicle formation and transport, Ca2 +-signaling and ion transport responded to salinity stress in species- and population-specific ways. Aerobic energy metabolism was in general down-regulated in response to temperature, hypoxia, hyposalinity and low pH stress, but other metabolic pathways were activated to respond to increased oxidative stress or to switch metabolic fuels. Thus, comparative proteomics is a powerful approach to identify functionally adaptive variation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Proteomics of non-model organisms.

Tomanek L., in press. Proteomics to study adaptations in marine organisms to environmental stress. Journal of Proteomics. Article (subscription required).

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