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Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 164, Issue 7, pp 561–569 | Cite as

d-Alanine metabolism in the lucinid clam Lucinoma aequizonata

  • S. Wiley
  • H. Felbeck
Article

Abstract

The chemoautotrophic symbiont-bearing clam Lucinoma aequizonata contains very high levels of free d-alanine in all tissues. The possible sources for this amino acid and its involvement in the clams' metabolism were investigated. Very low levels of d-alanine (generally below 1 μmol·l-1) were measured in the sediment porewaters from the habitat of the clams. Experiments with 14C-labeled tracers demonstrate an active metabolism of d-alanine in the clams rather than a role as inert waste product. d-alanine is metabolized at about 0.12 μmol·g fw-1·h-1. Label from aspartate, but not glucose and CO2, is incorporated into d-alanine. Incubation with labeled d-alanine did not result in formation of radioactive l-alanine. Tests for alanine racemase (EC 5.1.1.1) and d-amino acid oxidase (EC 1.4.3.3.) did not show activity in either gill, i.e. symbiont and host, or foot tissue. d-Alanine amino transferase (EC 2.6.1.b.) was demonstrated in gill and foot tissues. Two sources for d-alanine are proposed: a degradation of cell walls of symbiotic bacteria and production by the host using a d-specific alanine transaminase.

Key words

d-Alanine Chemoautotrophic symbiosis Lucinidae Clam, Lucinoma 

Abbreviations

aa

amino acid(s)

fw

fresh weight

HPLC

high-performance liquid chromatography

MBH

methyl benzethonium hydroxyde

NAC

N-acetyl-l-cysteine

OPA

ortho-phthaldialdehyde

TCA

tricarbonic acid

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Wiley
    • 1
  • H. Felbeck
    • 1
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of Oceanography 0202University of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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