Changes in phospholipid profiles in early larval stages of the marine mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis indicate a role of ceramides in bivalve development

Int J Biochem Mol Biol. 2023 Oct 15;14(5):87-100. eCollection 2023.


Background: Phospholipids are highly diverse molecules with pleiotropic biological roles, from membrane components and signaling molecules, whose composition can change in response to both endogenous and external stimuli. Recent lipidomic studies on edible bivalve mollusks were focused on lipid nutritional value and growth requirements. However, no data are available on phospholipid profiles during bivalve larval development. In the model marine bivalve Mytilus galloprovincialis, early larvae (up to 48 hours post fertilization-hpf) undergo dramatic molecular and functional changes, including shell biogenesis and neurogenesis, that are sustained by egg lipid reserves. Changes in phospholipid composition may also occur participating in the complex processes of early development.

Objective: The lipidome of M. galloprovincialis eggs and early larval stages (24 and 48 hpf) was investigated in order to identify possible changes in phospholipid classes and related metabolic pathways that may play a role in key steps of development.

Materials and methods: Lipidomic analysis were performed by NMR spectroscopy and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), with focus on phospholipids. Shifts in relative species composition of phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, plasmalogen, and ceramide aminoethylphosphonate-CAEP, the bivalve analogue of the main mammalian ceramide sphingomyelin, were observed. Expression of genes involved in ceramide homeostasis was also modulated from eggs to early larval stages.

Results: The results represent the first data on changes in phospholipid composition in bivalve larvae and suggest a functional role of phospholipids in mussel early development.

Conclusion: The results underline the importance of lipidomic studies in bivalve larvae, in both physiological conditions and in response to environmental stress.

Keywords: Lipidome; Mytilus; bivalves; ceramides; early development; phospholipids.