Transcriptome analysis of biomineralisation-related genes within the pearl sac: Host and donor oyster contribution

E. L. McGinty*, K. R. Zenger, D. B. Jones, D. R. Jerry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cultured pearl production is a complex biological process involving the implantation of a mantle graft from a donor pearl oyster along with a bead nucleus into the gonad of a second recipient host oyster. Therefore, pearl production potentially involves the genetic co-operation of two oyster genomes. Whilst many genes in the mantle tissue have been identified and linked to shell biomineralisation in pearl oysters, few studies have determined which of these biomineralisation genes are expressed in the pearl sac and potentially linked to pearl biomineralisation processes. It is also uncertain whether the host or donor oyster is primarily responsible for the expression of biomineralisation genes governing pearl formation, with only two shell matrix proteins previously identified as being expressed by the donor oyster in the pearl sac. To further our understanding of pearl formation, the pearl sac transcriptome of Pinctada maxima and Pinctada margaritifera was each sequenced to an equivalent 5× genome coverage with putative molluscan biomineralisation-related genes identified. Furthermore, the host and donor contribution of these expressed genes within the pearl sac were quantified using a novel approach whereby two pearl oyster species harbouring unique genomes, P. maxima or P. margaritifera, were used to produce xenografted pearl sacs. A total of 19 putative mollusc biomineralisation genes were identified and found to be expressed in the pearl sacs of P. maxima and P. margaritifera. From this list of expressed genes, species-diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were identified within seven of these genes; Linkine, N66, Perline, N44, MSI60, Calreticulin and PfCHS1. Based on the presence/absence of species diagnostic gene transcripts within xenografted pearl sacs, all seven genes were found to be expressed by the species used as the donor oyster. In one individual we also found that the host was expressing Linkine. These results convincingly show for the first time that the donor mantle tissue is primarily responsible for the expression of biomineralisation genes in the pearl sac.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Genomics
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

Keywords

  • Pearl formation
  • Pearl oyster
  • Pinctada margaritifera
  • Pinctada maxima
  • Shell matrix protein
  • Xenograft

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