Meeting Abstract

P3.47  Friday, Jan. 6  Effects of Chronic Heat Exposure on Protein Expression in the Mussel Geukensia demissa KARCH, KELLY R.*; FIELDS, PETER A.; Franklin and Marshall College; Franklin and Marshall College kelly.karch@fandm.edu

Geukensia demissa, the ribbed salt marsh mussel, inhabits intertidal zones from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. Salt marshes are harsh environments for intertidal organisms, and this species experiences physiological stress from a number of abiotic factors. For example, the body temperature of Geukensia individuals can vary drastically both daily and seasonally, at times approaching the species’ upper lethal limit. My study focuses on discovering and describing changes in protein expression during acclimation to high temperature to determine how these organisms cope with chronic environmental stress. Control mussels collected from southern New Jersey were acclimated to 15°C for three weeks, while treatment groups were exposed to 20°C, 25°C, 30°C or 35°C for three weeks. All mussels exposed to 35°C died within two weeks, but individuals acclimated to lower temperatures survived. Proteins were extracted from the gill tissue of six mussels per group, and proteins were separated using 2D-gel electrophoresis. Changes in protein abundance were detected and measured using gel image analysis software. An ANOVA test revealed that of 1,060 proteins detected, 61 showed significant differences in expression between groups. I used Pavlidis template matching (PTM) to identify proteins that increased in abundance most significantly under each treatment, and I am using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to attempt to identify these proteins. My results will provide insight into which proteins and biochemical pathways are most important in adapting to chronic heat stress.