•5-HT and DA modulate shell formation in oyster larvae through TGF-β smad signaling pathway.
•5-HT and DA trigger the expression of tyrosinase and inhibit the expression of chitinase to form the initial shell.
•OA suppresses the biosynthesis of 5-HT and DA and the activation of TGF-β smad pathway.
•OA subverts the expression patterns of chitinase and tyrosinase and results in the failure of shell formation.
Ocean acidification has severely affected the initial shell formation of marine bivalves during their larval stages. In the present study, it was found that dopamine (DA) content in early D-shape larvae was significantly higher than that in trochophore and D-shape larvae, while the serotonin (5-HT) content in early D-shape larvae and D-shape larvae was obviously higher than that in trochophore. Incubation of trochophore with 5-HT or DA could accelerate the formation of calcified shell, and the treatments with selective antagonists of receptors for 5-HT and DA (Cg5-HTR-1 and CgD1DR-1) obviously inhibited the formation of calcified shells. When oyster larvae were subjected to an experimental acidified treatment (pH 7.4), the biosynthesis of 5-HT and DA was inhibited, while the mRNA expression levels of the components in TGF-β pathway were significantly up-regulated in D-shape larvae. Moreover, the phosphorylation of TIR and the translocation of smad4 were hindered upon acidification treatments, and the expression patterns of chitinase and tyrosinase were completely reverted. These results collectively suggested that monoamine neurotransmitters 5-HT and DA could modulate the initial shell formation in oyster larvae through TGF-β smad pathway by regulating the expression of tyrosinase and chitinase to guarantee the chitin synthesis for shell formation. CO2-induced seawater acidification could suppress the biosynthesis of 5-HT and DA, as well as the activation of TGF-β smad pathway, which would subvert the expression patterns of chitinase and tyrosinase and cause the failure of initial shell formation in oyster early D-shape larvae.
Liu Z., Zhou Z., Zhang Y., Wang L., Song X., Wang W., Zheng Y., Zong Y., Lv Z. & Song L., in press. Ocean acidification inhibits initial shell formation of oyster larvae by suppressing the biosynthesis of serotonin and dopamine. Science of The Total Environment. Article (subscription required).