Transcriptome and Gene Coexpression Network Analyses of Two Wild Populations Provides Insight into the High-Salinity Adaptation Mechanisms of Crassostrea ariakensis

  • Xingyu Liu
  • Li LiEmail author
  • Ao Li
  • Yingxiang Li
  • Wei Wang
  • Guofan Zhang
Original Article


Crassostrea ariakensis naturally distributes in the intertidal and estuary region with relative low salinity ranging from 10 to 25‰. To understand the adaptive capacity of oysters to salinity stress, we conducted transcriptome analysis to investigate the metabolic pathways of salinity stress effectors in oysters from two different geographical sites, namely at salinities of 16, 23, and 30‰. We completed transcriptome sequencing of 18 samples and a total of 52,392 unigenes were obtained after assembly. Differentially expressed gene (DEG) analysis and weighted gene correlation network analysis (WGCNA) were performed using RNA-Seq transcriptomic data from eye-spot larvae at different salinities and from different populations. The results showed that at moderately high salinities (23 and 30‰), genes related to osmotic agents, oxidation-reduction processes, and related regulatory networks of complex transcriptional regulation and signal transduction pathways dominated to counteract the salinity stress. Moreover, there were adaptive differences in salinity response mechanisms, especially at high salinity, in oyster larvae from different populations. These results provide a framework for understanding the interactions of multiple pathways at the system level and for elucidating the complex cellular processes involved in responding to osmotic stress and maintaining growth. Furthermore, the results facilitate further research into the biological processes underlying physiological adaptations to hypertonic stress in marine invertebrates and provide a molecular basis for our subsequent search for high salinity–tolerant populations.


High-salinity adaptation Wild populations Larvae transcriptome Weighted gene correlation network analysis Crassostrea ariakensis 



We thank Dr. J. Meng for suggestions on the article writing. We thank Dr. Zhaoxing Qiu and his team for the help in larval rearing.


This research was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA23050402), National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFD0900304) and the Earmarked Fund for Modern Agro–industry Technology Research System (CARS–49).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10126_2019_9896_MOESM1_ESM.png (278 kb)
Fig. S1 PCA plot of the two populations at a salinity of 16‰ (Sal16) (PNG 277 kb)
10126_2019_9896_MOESM2_ESM.png (249 kb)
Fig. S2 PCA plot of the two populations at a salinity of 23‰ (Sal23) (PNG 249 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xingyu Liu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Li Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  • Ao Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yingxiang Li
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Wei Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Guofan Zhang
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Experimental Marine Biology, Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Laboratory for Marine Fisheries Science and Food Production ProcessesQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Laboratory for Marine Biology and BiotechnologyQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  5. 5.Center for Ocean Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  6. 6.National & Local Joint Engineering Key Laboratory of Ecological Mariculture, Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina

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