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The transcriptional response of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas under simultaneous bacterial and heat stresses

Zhang, Huan, Wang, Hao, Chen, Hao, Wang, Mengqiang, Zhou, Zhi, Qiu, Limei, Wang, Lingling, Song, Linsheng
Developmental and comparative immunology 2019 v.94 pp. 1-10
Crassostrea gigas, Vibrio splendidus, aquaculture industry, bacterial infections, energy expenditure, energy metabolism, gene expression, heat stress, hemocytes, hepatopancreas, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, immune response, immune system, immunomodulation, messenger RNA, mortality, oysters, pathogens, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, signal transduction, stress response, summer, transcription (genetics)
Bacterial infection and heat stress are considered as two major environmental threats for the aquaculture industry of oyster Crassostrea gigas. In the present study, the expression profiles of mRNA transcripts in the hemocytes of oysters under bacterial challenge and heat stress were examined by next-generation sequencing. There were 21,095, 21,957 and 21,141 transcripts identified in the hemocytes of oysters from three groups, respectively, including control group (designated as Con group), Vibrio splendidus challenge group (Bac group), and bacterial and heat stress combined treatment group (BacHeat group). There were 4610, 5093 and 5149 differentially expressed transcripts (DTs) in the three pairwise comparisons Con/Bac, Con/BacHeat and Bac/BacHeat, respectively. The main enriched GO terms in biological process category of the DTs included the metabolic processes, cellular process, response to stimulus and immune system process. The expression patterns of DTs involved in pattern recognition, immune signal transduction and energy metabolic indicated that the immune response to bacterial challenge was disturbed under acute heat stress, which was also confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. The neuroendocrine immunomodulation, especially the catecholaminergic regulation, played indispensable roles in stress response. The total energy reserves as well as cellular energy allocation (CEA) in hepatopancreas of oysters decreased remarkably especially in BacHeat group, while the energy consumption generally increased, suggesting that the immune defense against the simultaneous stimulation of pathogen and heat stress imposed greater costs on oyster's energy expenditure than a single stressor. These results above indicated that, the heat stress disturbed the normal expression of genes involved in immune response and energy metabolism, accelerated energy consumption and broke the metabolic balance, leading to a decline in resilience to infection and mass mortality of oyster in summer.