Polar Biology

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 245–256 | Cite as

Tracing of lipid markers of soft corals in a polar lipidome of the nudibranch mollusk Tritonia tetraquetra from the Sea of Okhotsk

  • Andrey B. ImbsEmail author
  • Alexei V. Chernyshev
Original Paper


To trace predator‒prey interactions in the marine environment, fatty acids (FAs) were widely applied as qualitative markers. Recently, two tetracosapolyenoic acids (TPA), which are specific markers of soft corals, have been found in the nudibranch mollusk Tritonia tetraquetra collected in the deep waters of the Sea of Okhotsk. This mollusk does not synthesize TPA but preys mostly on the soft coral Gersemia fruticosa. Both invertebrates are common species in Arctic and boreal regions and may be a simple model for the investigation of FA marker transfer from one trophic level to another. A lipidomic approach was applied to study the transfer of the FA markers in this predator–prey system. The structure and content of the molecular species of polar lipids (polar lipidome) of both animal species were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography with high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry. The distribution of several principal FA markers in lipid molecular species was determined. C20 monoenoic FAs of the coral were not integrated in the most of nudibranch lipids. Arachidonic and eicosapentaenoic acids mainly esterified ethanolamine and choline glycerophospholipids (PE and PC) in both invertebrates. In the coral polar lipidome, TPA concentrated in serine glycerophospholipids (PS). The nudibranch decomposed coral lipids and reallocated TPA to PS, PE, and PC. We suppose that this reallocation is responsible for the accumulation of TPA in the nudibranch. The nudibranch differed from the coral in biosynthetic relationships of phospholipid classes. The lipidomic approach explains the rearrangement of dietary FAs in the predator lipids. This rearrangement can be important for the trophic uptake and transfer of lipids in polar marine ecosystems.


Biomarkers Gastropods Lipidomics Lipid molecular species Trophic levels Soft corals 



This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Grant 15–04–02686). We thank Valeria P. Grigorchuk for her help with the LC–MS analysis and Dr. Vladimir I. Kharlamenko for collecting the biological materials and discussing the early versions of our manuscript. This manuscript benefited from valuable input by Prof. Dieter Piepenburg and three anonymous reviewers. Thanks are due to Evgenii P. Shvetsov for his help in improving the English.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or vertebrate animals performed by any of the authors. All the experiments on invertebrate animals were reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of the National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and were conducted in agreement with the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki.

Supplementary material

300_2018_2418_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (861 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 861 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Far Eastern BranchRussian Academy of SciencesVladivostokRussian Federation

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