The formation of the primary shell is a vital process in marine bivalves. Ocean acidification largely influences shell formation. It has been reported that enzymes involved in phenol oxidation, such as tyrosinase and phenoloxidases, participate in the formation of the periostracum. In the present study, we cloned a tyrosinase gene from Crassostrea angulata named Ca-tyrA1, and its potential function in early larval shell biogenesis was investigated. The Ca-tyrA1 gene has a full-length cDNA of 2430 bp in size, with an open reading frame of 1896 bp in size, which encodes a 631-amino acid protein that includes a 24-amino acid putative signal peptide. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis revealed that Ca-tyrA1 transcription mainly occurs at the trochophore stage, and the Ca-tyrA1 mRNA levels in the 3000 ppm treatment group were significantly upregulated in the early D-veliger larvae. WMISH and electron scanning microscopy analyses showed that the expression of Ca-tyrA1 occurs at the gastrula stage, thereby sustaining the early D-veliger larvae, and the shape of its signal is saddle-like, similar to that observed under an electron scanning microscope. Furthermore, the RNA interference has shown that the treatment group has a higher deformity rate than that of the control, thereby indicating that Ca-tyrA1 participates in the biogenesis of the primary shell. In conclusion, and our results indicate that Ca-tyrA1 plays a vital role in the formation of the larval shell and participates in the response to larval shell damages in Crassostrea angulata that were induced by ocean acidification.
Yang B., Pu F., Li L., You W., Ke C. & Feng D., in press. Functional analysis of a tyrosinase gene involved in early larval shell biogenesis in Crassostrea angulata and its response to ocean acidification. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Article (subscription required).