Blanco, S., et al. “Effects of short-term hyposalinity stress on four commercially important bivalves: A proteomic perspective.” Environmental Research 215 (2022): 114371. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2022.114371
Increased heavy rainfall can reduce salinity to values close to 0 in estuaries. Lethal and sublethal physiological and behavioural effects of decreases in salinity below ten have already been found to occur in the commercially important clam species Venerupis corrugata, Ruditapes decussatus and R. philippinarum and the cockle Cerastoderma edule, which generate an income of ∼74 million euros annually in Galicia (NW Spain). However, studies of the molecular response to hyposaline stress in bivalves are scarce. This ‘shotgun’ proteomics study evaluates changes in mantle-edge proteins subjected to short-term hyposaline episodes in two different months (March and May) during the gametogenic cycle. We found evidence that the mantle-edge proteome was more responsive to sampling time than to hyposalinity, strongly suggesting that reproductive stages condition the stress response. However, hyposalinity modulated proteome profiles in V. corrugata and C. edule in both months and R. philippinarum in May, involving proteins implicated in protein folding, redox homeostasis, detoxification, cytoskeleton modulation and the regulation of apoptotic, autophagic and lipid degradation pathways. However, proteins that are essential for an optimal osmotic stress response but which are highly energy demanding, such as chaperones, osmoprotectants and DNA repair factors, were found in small relative abundances. In both months in R. decussatus and in March in R. philippinarum, almost no differences between treatments were detected. Concordant trends in the relative abundance of stress response candidate proteins were also obtained in V. corrugata and C. edule in the different months, but not in Ruditapes spp., strongly suggesting that the osmotic stress response in bivalves is complex and possibly influenced by a combination of controlled (sampling time) and uncontrolled variables. In this paper, we report potential molecular targets for studying the response to osmotic stress, especially in the most osmosensitive native species C. edule and V. corrugata, and suggest factors to consider when searching for biomarkers of hyposaline stress in bivalves.