Proteomic Basis of Stress Responses in the Gills of the Pacific Oyster Crassostrea gigas

Yang Zhang, Jin Sun, Huawei Mu, Jun Li, Yuehuan Zhang, Fengjiao Xu, Zhiming Xiang, Pei Yuan Qian, Jian Wen Qiu*, Ziniu Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


The Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas is one of the dominant sessile inhabitants of the estuarine intertidal zone, which is a physically harsh environment due to the presence of a number of stressors. Oysters have adapted to highly dynamic and stressful environments, but the molecular mechanisms underlying such stress adaptation are largely unknown. In the present study, we examined the proteomic responses in the gills of C. gigas exposed to three stressors (high temperature, low salinity, and aerial exposure) they often encounter in the field. We quantitatively compared the gill proteome profiles using iTRAQ-coupled 2-D LC-MS/MS. There were 3165 identified proteins among which 2379 proteins could be quantified. Heat shock, hyposalinity, and aerial exposure resulted in 50, 15, and 33 differentially expressed gill proteins, respectively. Venn diagram analysis revealed substantial different responses to the three stressors. Only xanthine dehydrogenase/oxidase showed a similar expression pattern across the three stress treatments, suggesting that reduction of ROS accumulation may be a conserved response to these stressors. Heat shock caused significant overexpression of molecular chaperones and production of S-adenosyl-l-methionine, indicating their crucial protective roles against protein denature. In addition, heat shock also activated immune responses, Ca2+ binding protein expression. By contrast, hyposalinity and aerial exposure resulted in the up-regulation of 3-demethylubiquinone-9 3-methyltransferase, indicating that increase in ubiquinone synthesis may contribute to withstanding both the osmotic and desiccation stress. Strikingly, the majority of desiccation-responsive proteins, including those involved in metabolism, ion transportation, immune responses, DNA duplication, and protein synthesis, were down-regulated, indicating conservation of energy as an important strategy to cope with desiccation stress. There was a high consistency between the expression levels determined by iTRAQ and Western blotting, highlighting the high reproducibility of our proteomic approach and its great value in revealing molecular mechanisms of stress responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-317
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number1
Early online date2 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • aerial exposure
  • Crassostrea
  • gills
  • iTRAQ
  • oyster
  • salinity
  • temperature


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