The work reported within this article demonstrates how metabolomic NMR analysis of three organ blocks of the Eastern oyster identified over 32 major compounds. This provides a basis for future studies into the effects of the environment, age, genetics, and disease on the metabolome.
The Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is a useful, robust model marine organism for tissue metabolism studies. Its relatively few organs are easily delineated and there is sufficient understanding of their functions based on classical assays to support interpretation of advanced spectroscopic approaches. Here we apply high-resolution proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR)-based metabolomic analysis to C. virginica to investigate the differences in the metabolic profile of different organ groups, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to non-invasively identify the well separated organs. Metabolites were identified in perchloric acid extracts of three portions of the oyster containing: (1) adductor muscle, (2) stomach and digestive gland, and (3) mantle and gills. Osmolytes dominated the metabolome in all three organ blocks with decreasing concentration as follows: betaine > taurine > proline > glycine > ß-alanine > hypotaurine. Mitochondrial metabolism appeared most pronounced in the adductor muscle with elevated levels of carnitine facilitating ß-oxidation, and ATP, and phosphoarginine synthesis, while glycogen was elevated in the mantle/gills and stomach/digestive gland. A biochemical schematic is presented that relates metabolites to biochemical pathways correlated with physiological organ functions. This study identifies metabolites and corresponding 1H NMR peak assignments for future NMR-based metabolomic studies in oysters.
The article is published online within the journal, Marine Drugs and is free to access.