S. Tapia-Morales, E.A. López-Landavery, I. Giffard-Mena, N. Ramírez-Álvarez, R.J.E. Gómez-Reyes, F. Díaz, C.E. Galindo-Sánchez

Abstract

The Crassostrea virginica oyster has biological and economic importance in the Gulf of Mexico, an area with a high extraction and production of hydrocarbons. Exposure to hydrocarbons affects the reproductive processes in bivalves. In C. virginica, the effect of hydrocarbons on the gonad of the undifferentiated organism has not been evaluated to determine the possible damage during the maturation process. To evaluate this effect, RNA-seq data was generated from C. virginica gonads exposed to a 200 μg/L of hydrocarbons at different exposure times (7, 14 and 21 days) and a control treatment (without hydrocarbons). The analysis of the gonad transcriptome showed the negative effect of hydrocarbons on maturation, with a sub-expression of 22 genes involved in different stages of this process. Additionally, genes in the immune system were down-regulated, which may indicate that exposure to hydrocarbons causes immunosuppression in bivalves. A group of oxidative stress genes was also reduced. These data contribute to a better understanding of the effect of hydrocarbons on the reproductive process in bivalves and, at the same time, allow us to identify possible biomarkers associated with hydrocarbon contamination in the gonad of C. virginica.

Keywords:
Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, RNA-Seq, gonadal maturation hydrocarbons, Gulf of Mexico, Laguna Madre

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