The Sydney Rock Oyster, Saccostrea glomerata, is a socioeconomically important species in Australia, yet little is known about the molecular mechanism that regulates its reproduction. To address this gap, we have performed a combination of high throughput transcriptomic and peptidomic analysis, to identify genes and neuropeptides that are expressed in the key regulatory tissues of S. glomerata; the visceral ganglia and gonads. Neuropeptides are known to encompass a diverse class of peptide messengers that play functional roles in many aspects of an animal's life, including reproduction. Approximately 28 neuropeptide genes were identified, primarily within the visceral ganglia transcriptome, that encode precursor proteins containing numerous neuropeptides; some were confirmed through mass spectral peptidomics analysis of the visceral ganglia. Of those, 28 bioactive neuropeptides were synthesized, and then tested for their capacity to induce gonad development and spawning in S. glomerata. Egg laying hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, APGWamide, buccalin, CCAP and LFRFamide were neuropeptides found to trigger spawning in ripe animals. Additional testing of APGWa and buccalin demonstrated their capacity to advance conditioning and gonadal maturation. In summary, our analysis of S. glomerata has identified neuropeptides that can influence the reproductive cycle of this species, specifically by accelerating gonadal maturation and triggering spawning. Other molluscan neuropeptides identified in this study will enable further research into understanding the neuroendocrinology of oysters, which may benefit their cultivation.
- Egg-laying hormone
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
- Mass spectrometry
- Saccostrea glomerata