Posts Tagged 'gene expression'

Defense responses to short-term hypoxia and seawater acidification in the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus

The rising anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 results in the reduction of seawater pH, namely ocean acidification (OA). In East China Sea, the largest coastal hypoxic zone was observed in the world. This region is also strongly impacted by ocean acidification as receiving much nutrient from Changjiang and Qiantangjiang, and organisms can experience great short-term natural variability of DO and pH in this area. In order to evaluate the defense responses of marine mussels under this scenario, the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus were exposed to three pH/pCO2 levels (7.3/2800 μatm, 7.7/1020 μatm, 8.1/376 μatm) at two dissolved oxygen concentrations (DO, 2.0, 6.0 mg L−1) for 72 h. Results showed that byssus thread parameters, such as the number, diameter, attachment strength and plaque area were reduced by low DO, and shell-closing strength was significantly weaker under both hypoxia and low pH conditions. Expression patterns of genes related to mussel byssus protein (MBP) were affected by hypoxia. Generally, hypoxia reduced MBP1 and MBP7 expressions, but increased MBP13 expression. In conclusion, both hypoxia and low pH induced negative effects on mussel defense responses, with hypoxia being the main driver of change. In addition, significant interactive effects between pH and DO were observed on shell-closing strength. Therefore, the adverse effects induced by hypoxia on the defense of mussels may be aggravated by low pH in the natural environments.

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CO2 induced acidification impacts sea urchin larval development II: gene expression patterns in pluteus larvae

Extensive use of fossil fuels is leading to increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and causes changes in the carbonate chemistry of the oceans which represents a major sink for anthropogenic CO2. As a result, the oceans’ surface pH is expected to decrease by ca. 0.4 units by the year 2100, a major change with potentially negative consequences for some marine species. Because of their carbonate skeleton, sea urchins and their larval stages are regarded as likely to be one of the more sensitive taxa. In order to investigate sensitivity of pre-feeding (2 days post-fertilization) and feeding (4 and 7 days post-fertilization) pluteus larvae, we raised Strongylocentrotus purpuratus embryos in control (pH 8.1 and pCO2 41 Pa e.g. 399 μatm) and CO2 acidified seawater with pH of 7.7 (pCO2 134 Pa e.g. 1318 μatm) and investigated growth, calcification and survival. At three time points (day 2, day 4 and day 7 post-fertilization), we measured the expression of 26 representative genes important for metabolism, calcification and ion regulation using RT-qPCR.

After one week of development, we observed a significant difference in growth. Maximum differences in size were detected at day 4 (ca. 10 % reduction in body length). A comparison of gene expression patterns using PCA and ANOSIM clearly distinguished between the different age groups (Two way ANOSIM: Global R = 1) while acidification effects were less pronounced (Global R = 0.518). Significant differences in gene expression patterns (ANOSIM R = 0.938, SIMPER: 4.3% difference) were also detected at day 4 leading to the hypothesis that differences between CO2 treatments could reflect patterns of expression seen in control experiments of a younger larva and thus a developmental artifact rather than a direct CO2 effect. We found an up regulation of metabolic genes (between 10 to 20% in ATP-synthase, citrate synthase, pyruvate kinase and thiolase at day 4) and down regulation of calcification related genes (between 23 and 36% in msp130, SM30B, SM50 at day 4). Ion regulation was mainly impacted by up regulation of Na+/K+-ATPase at day 4 (15%) and down regulation of NHE3 at day 4 (45%). We conclude that in studies in which a stressor induces an alteration in the speed of development, it is crucial to employ experimental designs with a high time resolution in order to correct for developmental artifacts. This helps prevent misinterpretation of stressor effects on organism physiology.

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The influence of pCO2 and temperature on gene expression of carbon and nitrogen pathways in Trichodesmium IMS101

Growth, protein amount, and activity levels of metabolic pathways in Trichodesmium are influenced by environmental changes such as elevated pCO2 and temperature. This study examines changes in the expression of essential metabolic genes in Trichodesmium grown under a matrix of pCO2 (400 and 900 µatm) and temperature (25 and 31°C). Using RT-qPCR, we studied 21 genes related to four metabolic functional groups: CO2 concentrating mechanism (bicA1, bicA2, ccmM, ccmK2, ccmK3, ndhF4, ndhD4, ndhL, chpX), energy metabolism (atpB, sod, prx, glcD), nitrogen metabolism (glnA, hetR, nifH), and inorganic carbon fixation and photosynthesis (rbcL, rca, psaB, psaC, psbA). nifH and most photosynthetic genes exhibited relatively high abundance and their expression was influenced by both environmental parameters. A two to three orders of magnitude increase was observed for glnA and hetR only when both pCO2 and temperature were elevated. CO2 concentrating mechanism genes were not affected by pCO2 and temperature and their expression levels were markedly lower than that of the nitrogen metabolism and photosynthetic genes. Many of the CO2 concentrating mechanism genes were co-expressed throughout the day. Our results demonstrate that in Trichodesmium, CO2 concentrating mechanism genes are constitutively expressed. Co-expression of genes from different functional groups were frequently observed during the first half of the photoperiod when oxygenic photosynthesis and N2 fixation take place, pointing at the tight and complex regulation of gene expression in Trichodesmium. Here we provide new data linking environmental changes of pCO2 and temperature to gene expression in Trichodesmium. Although gene expression indicates an active metabolic pathway, there is often an uncoupling between transcription and enzyme activity, such that transcript level cannot usually be directly extrapolated to metabolic activity.

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