Field Study of Cyclic Hypoxic Effects on Gene Expression in Grass Shrimp Hepatopancreas

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio, are widely used for ecological and toxicological research. They commonly experience cyclic hypoxia in their natural habitats. The response of grass shrimp to laboratory-controlled cyclic hypoxia has been studied in detail, but little is known about how field acclimatized grass shrimp regulate the gene expression and response to cyclic hypoxia. In this study we examined morphometric parameters, relative fecundity and gene expression of grass shrimp collected from two areas in Weeks Bay (Mobile, Alabama). One is a traditionally normoxic location (WBM), and the other is a traditionally cyclic hypoxic location (WC). In the week preceding grass shrimp collection dissolved oxygen (DO) at the field sites was measured continuously. DO was <2 (mg/L DO) and between 2 and 3 (mg/L DO) for 0 and 255 min at WBM, and for 285 and 1035 min at WC, respectively. Weight and length of WBM grass shrimp were significantly greater than weight and length of WC shrimp. WBM shrimp had more eggs than WC shrimp, but the difference was not significant. Shrimp from WC had a significant higher number of parasites than those from WBM. A cDNA microarray was utilized to investigate the changes in gene expression in grass shrimp hepatopancreas. Five genes, previously identified as hypoxia/cydic hypoxia-responsive genes in laboratory exposure studies, were significantly up-regulated in WC shrimp relative to WBM. A total of 5 genes were significantly down-regulated in the field study. Only one of those genes, vitellogenin, has been previously found in chronic and cyclic hypoxic studies. Up and down-regulation of 7 selected genes was confirmed by qPCR. The overall pattern of gene expression in wild shrimp from cyclic DO sites in Weeks Bay showed only weak correlations with gene expression in shrimp from chronic and cyclic hypoxic laboratory studies. It appears therefore that transcriptome profiles of laboratory acclimated animals are of limited utility for understanding responses in field acclimatized animals that are exposed to a broader array of environmental variables. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology D: Genomics and Proteomics





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