The Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, has developed special mechanisms to regulate its osmotic balance to adapt to fluctuations of salinities in coastal zones. To understand the oyster’s euryhaline adaptation, we analyzed salt stress effectors metabolism pathways under different salinities (salt 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 for 7 days) using transcriptome data, physiology experiment and quantitative real-time PCR.
Transcriptome data uncovered 189, 480, 207 and 80 marker genes for monitoring physiology status of oysters and the environment conditions. Three known salt stress effectors (involving ion channels, aquaporins and free amino acids) were examined. The analysis of ion channels and aquaporins indicated that 7 days long-term salt stress inhibited voltage-gated Na +/K + channel and aquaporin but increased calcium-activated K + channel and Ca 2+ channel . As the most important category of osmotic stress effector, we analyzed the oyster FAAs metabolism pathways (including taurine, glycine, alanine, beta-alanine, proline and arginine) and explained FAAs functional mechanism for oyster low salinity adaptation. FAAs metabolism key enzyme genes displayed expression differentiation in low salinity adapted individuals comparing with control which further indicated that FAAs played important roles for oyster salinity adaptation. A global metabolic pathway analysis (iPath) of oyster expanded genes displayed a co-expansion of FAAs metabolism in C. gigas compared with seven other species, suggesting oyster’s powerful ability regarding FAAs metabolism, allowing it to adapt to fluctuating salinities, which may be one important mechanism underlying euryhaline adaption in oyster. Additionally, using transcriptome data analysis, we uncovered salt stress transduction networks in C. gigas.
Our results represented oyster salt stress effectors functional mechanisms under salt stress conditions and explained the expansion of FAAs metabolism pathways as the most important effectors for oyster euryhaline adaptation. This study was the first to explain oyster euryhaline adaptation at a genome-wide scale in C. gigas.