Connor, K M, and Gracey, A Y, High-Resolution Analysis of Metabolic Cycles in the Intertidal Mussel Mytilus Californianus. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 2012. 302(1): R103-11.


Connor KM, Gracey AY. High-resolution analysis of metabolic cycles in the intertidal mussel Mytilus californianus. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 302: R103–R111, 2012. First published October 19, 2011; doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00453.2011.—Inhabitants of the marine rocky intertidal live in an environment that alternates between aquatic and terrestrial due to the rise and fall of the tide. The tide creates a cyclical availability of oxygen with animals having access to oxygenated water during episodes of submergence, while access to oxygen is restricted during aerial emergence. Here we performed liquid chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry enabled metabolomic profiling of gill samples isolated from the California ribbed mussel, Mytilus californianus, to investigate how metabolism is orchestrated in this variable environment. We created a simulated intertidal environment in which mussels were acclimated to alternating high and low tides of 6 h duration, and samples were taken every 2 h for 72 h to capture reproducible changes in metabolite levels over six high and six low tides. We quantified 169 named metabolites of which 24 metabolites cycled significantly with a 12-h period that was linked to the tidal cycle. These data confirmed the presence of alternating phases of fermentation and aerobic metabolism and highlight a role for carnitine-conjugated metabolites during the anaerobic phase of this cycle. Mussels at low tide accumulated eight carnitine-conjugated metabolites, arising from the degradation of fatty acids, branched chain amino acids, and mitochondrial-oxidation end products. The data also implicate sphingosine as a potential signaling molecule during aerial emergence. These findings identify new levels of metabolic control whose role in intertidal adaptation remains to be elucidated.

hypoxia; anaerobic; metabolomic; intertidal


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