A calcification-related calmodulin-like protein in the oyster Crassostrea gigas mediates the enhanced calcium deposition induced by CO2 exposure


  • A novel and calcification-related gene CgCaLP was identified.
  • The protein level of CgCaLP in hemocytes increased, but decreased in gill and mantle after CO2 exposure.
  • CgCaLP translocated to the outer mantle epithelium cells under CO2 exposure.
  • Calcium-rich deposites were observed in the outer mantle epithelium cells.


Calcium transportation and homeostasis are essential for marine bivalves to maintain basic metabolism and build their shells. Calmodulin-like proteins (CaLPs) are important calcium sensors and buffers and can respond to ocean acidification (OA) in marine calcifiers. However, no further study of their physiological function in calcium metabolism under elevated CO2 has been performed. Here, we identified a novel CaLP (designated CgCaLP) in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas and demonstrated its participation in the calcification process: the mRNA expression level of CgCaLP peaked at the trochophore larval stage and remained high at stages when shells were shaped; the mRNA and protein of CgCaLP were more highly expressed in mantle tissue than in other tissues. Under elevated CO2 levels, the protein expression level of CgCaLP in hemocytes increased, while in contrast, significantly decreased protein levels were detected in gill and mantle tissues. Shell dissolution caused the imbalance of calcium in hemocytes and decreased calcium absorption and transportation demand in gill and mantle tissues, inducing the molecular function allocation of CgCaLP under CO2 exposure. Despite the decreased protein level in mantle tissue, CgCaLP was found to translocate to outer mantle epithelium (OME) cells where condensed calcium-rich deposits (CRDs) were detected. We further demonstrated that CgCaLP mRNA and protein expression levels could respond to seawater Ca2+ availability, suggesting that the calcium deposition capacity of oysters might be enhanced to fight against shell dissolution problems and that CgCaLP might serve as an essential participator of the process. In summary, CgCaLP might enhance calcium deposition under CO2 exposure and thus play a significant and flexible molecular function involved in a compensation strategy of oysters to fight against the acidified ocean.

Wang X., Li C., Lv Z., Zhang Z. & Qiu L., 2022. A calcification-related calmodulin-like protein in the oyster Crassostrea gigas mediates the enhanced calcium deposition induced by CO2 exposure. Science of the Total Environment: 155114. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155114. Article (subscription required).

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