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Bivalves are NO different: nitric oxide as negative regulator of metamorphosis in the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas
Vogeler, S.; Carboni, S.; Li, X.; Nevejan, N.; Monaghan, S.J.; Ireland, J.H.; Joyce, A. (2020). Bivalves are NO different: nitric oxide as negative regulator of metamorphosis in the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas. Bmc Developmental Biology 20(1): 23.
In: Bmc Developmental Biology. BIOMED CENTRAL LTD: London. ISSN 1471-213X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Bivalvia [WoRMS]; Magallana gigas (Thunberg, 1793) [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Nitric oxide; Nitric oxide synthase NOS; cGMP; Metamorphosis; Bivalves; Crassostrea gigas; Pacific oyster

Authors  Top 
  • Vogeler, S.
  • Carboni, S.
  • Li, X.
  • Nevejan, N., more
  • Monaghan, S.J.
  • Ireland, J.H.
  • Joyce, A.



    Nitric oxide (NO) is presumed to be a regulator of metamorphosis in many invertebrate species, and although NO pathways have been comparatively well-investigated in gastropods, annelids and crustaceans, there has been very limited research on the effects of NO on metamorphosis in bivalve shellfish.


    In this paper, we investigate the effects of NO pathway inhibitors and NO donors on metamorphosis induction in larvae of the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas. The nitric oxides synthase (NOS) inhibitors s-methylisothiourea hemisulfate salt (SMIS), aminoguanidine hemisulfate salt (AGH) and 7-nitroindazole (7-NI) induced metamorphosis at 75, 76 and 83% respectively, and operating in a concentration-dependent manner. Additional induction of up to 54% resulted from exposures to 1H-[1,2,4]Oxadiazole[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ), an inhibitor of soluble guanylyl cyclase, with which NO interacts to catalyse the synthesis of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). Conversely, high concentrations of the NO donor sodium nitroprusside dihydrate in combination with metamorphosis inducers epinephrine, MK-801 or SMIS, significantly decreased metamorphosis, although a potential harmful effect of excessive NO unrelated to metamorphosis pathway cannot be excluded. Expression of CgNOS also decreased in larvae after metamorphosis regardless of the inducers used, but intensified again post-metamorphosis in spat. Fluorescent detection of NO in competent larvae with DAF-FM diacetate and localisation of the oyster nitric oxide synthase CgNOS expression by in-situ hybridisation showed that NO occurs primarily in two key larval structures, the velum and foot. cGMP was also detected in the foot using immunofluorescent assays, and is potentially involved in the foot’s smooth muscle relaxation.


    Together, these results suggest that the NO pathway acts as a negative regulator of metamorphosis in Pacific oyster larvae, and that NO reduction induces metamorphosis by inhibiting swimming or crawling behaviour, in conjunction with a cascade of additional neuroendocrine downstream responses.

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