Differential proteomic response of Sydney rock oysters (Saccostrea glomerata) to prolonged environmental stress

A. R. Melwani*, E. L. Thompson, D. A. Raftos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure to prolonged environmental stress can have impacts on the cellular homeostasis of aquatic organisms. The current study employed two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) to test whether exposure to impaired water quality conditions in the Sydney Harbour estuary has significantly altered the proteomes of the resident Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata). Adult S. glomerata were sampled from four bays in the estuary. Each bay consisted of a "high-impact" site adjacent to point sources of chemical contamination (e.g., storm drains/canals or legacy hotspots) and a "low-impact" site located ~5 km away from point sources. A mixture of environmental stressors differed significantly between high- and low-impact sites. Specifically, PAHs, PCBs, tributyltin, Pb, and Zn were significantly elevated in oyster tissues from high-impact sites, together with depleted dissolved oxygen and low pH in the water column. A 2-DE proteomics analysis subsequently identified 238 protein spots across 24 2-DE gels, of which 27-50 spots differed significantly in relative intensity between high- and low-impact sites per bay. Twenty-five percent of the differential spots were identified in more than one bay. The identities of 80 protein spots were determined by mass spectrometry. HSP 70, PPIB, and radixin were the three most highly expressed differential proteins. Despite the largely unique proteomes evident in each bay, functional annotations revealed that half of the differentially expressed proteins fell into just two subcellular functional categories-energy metabolism and the cytoskeleton. These findings provide a framework to further investigate adaptation of cellular mechanisms to prolonged stress in S. glomerata.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Contamination
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Molluscs
  • Proteomics
  • Stress


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