Investigation of molecular mechanisms regulating biomineralization of pearl oyster Pinctada maxima

Gardner, Luke David (2008) Investigation of molecular mechanisms regulating biomineralization of pearl oyster Pinctada maxima. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Biomineralization is a process encompassing all mineral containing tissues produced within an organism. The most dynamic example of this process is the formation of the mollusk shell, comprising a variety of crystal phases and microstructures. The organic component incorporated within the shell is said to dictate this remarkable architecture. Subsequently, for the past decade considerable research have been undertaken to identify and characterize the protein components involved in biomineralization. Despite these efforts the general understanding of the process remains ambiguous. This study employs a novel molecular approach to further the elucidation of the shell biomineralization. A microarray platform has been custom generated (PmaxArray 1.0) from the pearl oyster Pinctada maxima. PmaxArray 1.0 consists of 4992 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) originating from the mantle, an organ involved in shell formation. This microarray has been used as the primary tool for three separate investigations in an effort to associate transcriptional gene expression from P. maxima to the process of shell biomineralization. The first investigation analyzes the spatial expression of ESTs throughout the mantle organ. The mantle was dissected into five discrete regions and each analyzed for gene expression with PmaxArray 1.0. Over 2000 ESTs were differentially expressed among the tissue sections, identifying five major expression regions. Three of these regions have been proposed to have shell formation functions belonging to nacre, prismatic calcite and periostracum. The spatial gene expression map was confirmed by in situ hybridization, localizing a subset of ESTs from each expression region to the same mantle area. Comparative sequence analysis of ESTs expressed in the proposed shell formation regions with the BLAST tool, revealed a number of the transcripts were novel while others showed significant sequence similarities to previously characterized shell formation genes. The second investigation correlates temporal EST expression during P. maxima larval ontogeny with transitions in shell mineralization during the same period. A timeline documenting the morphologicat microstructural and mineralogical shell characteristics of P. maxima throughout larval ontogeny has been established. Three different shell types were noted based on the physical characters and termed, prodissoconch I, prodissoconch 11 and dissoconch. PmaxArray 1.0 analyzed ESTs expression of animals throughout the larval development of P. maxima, noting up-regulation of 359 ESTs in association with the shell transitions from prodissoconch 1 to prodissoconch 11 to dissoconch. Comparative sequence analysis of these ESTs indicates a number of the transcripts are novel as well as showing significant sequence similarities between ESTs and known shell matrix associated genes and proteins. These ESTs are discussed in relation to the shell characters associated with their temporal expression. The third investigation uses PmaxArray 1.0 to analyze gene expression in the mantle tissue of P. maxima specimens exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of a shell-deforming toxin, tributyltin (TBT). The shell specific effects of TBT are used in this investigation to interpret differential expression of ESTs with respect to shell formation functions. A lethal and sublethal TBT concentration range was established for P. maxima, noting a concentration of 50 ng L- 1 TBT as sub-lethal over a 21 day period. Mantle tissue from P. maxima animals treated with 50 ng L- 1 TBT was assessed for differential EST expression with untreated control animals. A total of 102 ESTs were identified as differentially expressed in association with TBT exposure, comparative sequence identities included an up-regulation of immunity and detoxification related genes and down-regulation of several shell matrix genes. A number of transcripts encoding novel peptides were additionally identified. The potential actions of these genes are discussed with reference to TBT toxicity and shell biomineralization. This thesis has used a microarray platform to analyze gene expression in spatial, temporal and toxicity investigations, revealing the involvement of numerous gene transcripts in specific shell formation functions. Investigation of thousands of transcripts simultaneously has provided a holistic interpretation of the organic components regulating shell biomineralization.

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ID Code: 29692
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Leavesley, David, Elizur, Abigail, & Mills, David
Keywords: biomineralization, expression, gene, mantle, microarray, molecular, mollusk, Pinctada maxima, pearl oyster, shell, shell matrix
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 14 Jan 2010 05:02
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:54

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