•Effects of salinity and pH on cellular metabolism were studied in bivalves.
•Biomineralizing cells had robust metabolism in the studied salinity and pH range.
•Oxygen consumption and protein synthesis rates declined at low pH.
•Na+/K+ ATPase activity increased at low salinity.
•H+ and Ca2+ transport activities were little affected by salinity and pH variation.
Molluscan shell formation is a complex energy demanding process sensitive to the shifts in seawater CaCO3 saturation due to changes in salinity and pH. We studied the effects of salinity and pH on energy demand and enzyme activities of biomineralizing cells of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and the hard-shell clam (Mercenaria mercenaria). Adult animals were exposed for 14 days to high (30), intermediate (18), or low (10) salinity at either high (8.0-8.2) or low (7.8) pH. Basal metabolic cost as well as the energy cost of the biomineralization-related cellular processes were determined in isolated mantle edge cells and hemocytes. The total metabolic rates were similar in the hemocytes of the two studied species, but considerably higher in the mantle cells of C. gigas compared with those of M. mercenaria. Cellular respiration was unaffected by salinity in the clams’ cells, while in oysters’ cells the highest respiration rate was observed at intermediate salinity (18). In both studied species, low pH suppressed cellular respiration. Low pH led to an upregulation of Na+/K+ ATPase activity in biomineralizing cells of oysters and clams. Activities of Ca2+ ATPase and H+ ATPase, as well as the cellular energy costs of Ca2+ and H+ transport in the biomineralizing cells were insensitive to the variation in salinity and pH in the clams and oysters. Species-specific variability in cellular response to low salinity and pH indicates that the disturbance of shell formation under these conditions has different underlying mechanisms in the two studied species.
Ivanina A. V., Jarrett A., Bell T., Rimkevicius T., Beniash E. & Sokolova I. M., in press. Effects of seawater salinity and pH on cellular metabolism and enzyme activities in biomineralizing tissues of marine bivalves. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology. Article (subscription required).