Differential expression of genes encoding anti-oxidant enzymes in Sydney rock oysters, Saccostrea glomerata (Gould) selected for disease resistance

Timothy J. Green*, Tom J. Dixon, Emilie Devic, Robert D. Adlard, Andrew C. Barnes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Sydney rock oysters (Saccostrea glomerata) selectively bred for disease resistance (R) and wild-caught control oysters (W) were exposed to a field infection of disseminating neoplasia. Cumulative mortality of W oysters (31.7%) was significantly greater than R oysters (0.0%) over the 118 days of the experiment. In an attempt to understand the biochemical and molecular pathways involved in disease resistance, differentially expressed sequence tags (ESTs) between R and W S. glomerata hemocytes were identified using the PCR technique, suppression subtractive hybridisation (SSH). Sequencing of 300 clones from two SSH libraries revealed 183 distinct sequences of which 113 shared high similarity to sequences in the public databases. Putative function could be assigned to 64 of the sequences. Expression of nine ESTs homologous to genes previously shown to be involved in bivalve immunity was further studied using quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR). The base-line expression of an extracellular superoxide dismutase (ecSOD) and a small heat shock protein (sHsP) were significantly increased, whilst peroxiredoxin 6 (Prx6) and interferon inhibiting cytokine factor (IK) were significantly decreased in R oysters. From these results it was hypothesised that R oysters would be able to generate the anti-parasitic compound, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) faster and to higher concentrations during respiratory burst due to the differential expression of genes for the two anti-oxidant enzymes of ecSOD and Prx6. To investigate this hypothesis, protein extracts from hemolymph were analysed for oxidative burst enzyme activity. Analysis of the cell free hemolymph proteins separated by native-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) failed to detect true superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity by assaying dismutation of superoxide anion in zymograms. However, the ecSOD enzyme appears to generate hydrogen peroxide, presumably via another process, which is yet to be elucidated. This corroborates our hypothesis, whilst phylogenetic analysis of the complete coding sequence (CDS) of the S. glomerata ecSOD gene is supportive of the atypical nature of the ecSOD enzyme. Results obtained from this work further the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in resistance to disease in this economically important bivalve, and shed further light on the anomalous oxidative processes involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-810
Number of pages12
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene expression
  • Innate immunity
  • Neoplasia
  • Oyster
  • Peroxiredoxin
  • Saccostrea
  • Superoxide dismutase


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential expression of genes encoding anti-oxidant enzymes in Sydney rock oysters, Saccostrea glomerata (Gould) selected for disease resistance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this