Proteomic response of marine invertebrate larvae to ocean acidification and hypoxia during metamorphosis and calcification

J Exp Biol. 2013 Dec 15;216(Pt 24):4580-9. doi: 10.1242/jeb.094516.


Calcifying marine invertebrates with complex life cycles are particularly at risk to climate changes as they undergo an abrupt ontogenetic shift during larval metamorphosis. Although our understanding of the larval response to climate changes is rapidly advancing, the proteome plasticity involved in a compensatory response to climate change is still unknown. In this study, we investigated the proteomic response of metamorphosing larvae of the tubeworm Hydroides elegans, challenged with two climate change stressors, ocean acidification (OA; pH 7.6) and hypoxia (HYP; 2.8 mg O2 l(-1)), and with both combined. Using a two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE)-based approach coupled with mass spectrometry, we found that climate change stressors did not affect metamorphosis except under OA, but altered the larval proteome and phosphorylation status. Metabolism and various stress and calcification-related proteins were downregulated in response to OA. In OA and HYP combined, HYP restored the expression of the calcification-related proteins to the control levels. We speculate that mild HYP stress could compensate for the negative effects of OA. This study also discusses the potential functions of selected proteins that might play important roles in larval acclimation and adaption to climate change.

Keywords: environmental proteomics; hypoxia; larval metamorphosis; ocean acidification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Animals
  • Calcification, Physiologic*
  • Climate Change
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Larva / physiology
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Polychaeta / growth & development
  • Polychaeta / physiology*
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Proteomics
  • Seawater / chemistry


  • Proteome
  • Oxygen