, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 122–132 | Cite as

Effects of benzo(a)pyrene on differentially expressed genes and haemocyte parameters of the clam Venerupis philippinarum

  • Na Liu
  • Luqing PanEmail author
  • XiaoLi Gong
  • Yanxia Tao
  • Yanyan Hu
  • Jingjing Miao


In this study a suppression subtractive hybridisation method was employed to identify differentially expressed genes of the clam Venerupis philippinarum exposed to benzo(a)pyrene (BaP). Nineteen known transcripts and seven predicted proteins were found from the subtractive cDNA library of the clam, which could provide more sequence information for further study. Seven of the differentially expressed genes were selected for mRNA expression analysis. Real-time PCR analysis revealed that the expression level of the selected cDNAs of clams was up-regulated to varying degrees by different concentration of BaP. They are suggested as potential molecular biomarkers for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) pollution monitoring in aquatic ecosystems. In addition, haemocyte parameters were also measured, and a decrease of total haemocyte counts and suppression of antibacterial and bacteriolytic activities were detected in BaP-stressed clams. We suggest that the modulation of the expression of the selected genes caused by PAHs probably leads to the disturbance of the immune defense of the clam. Meanwhile, the adverse effects of PAHs on haemocyte parameters caused the suppression of the immune defense and susceptibility to infectious diseases. Therefore, it is inferred that PAHs pollutants could interact with components of the immune system and interferes with defense functions of the clam V. philippinarum.


Antibacterial and bacteriolytic activities Biomarker Differentially expressed genes Marine bivalve Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Suppression subtractive hybridisation 



The work was supported by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (30972237) and State Oceanic Administration Specific Public Project of China (201105013). We are thankful to the staff at the Laboratory of Environmental Physiology of Aquatic Animal for help with sampling and taking care of the clams.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Na Liu
    • 1
  • Luqing Pan
    • 1
    Email author
  • XiaoLi Gong
    • 1
  • Yanxia Tao
    • 1
  • Yanyan Hu
    • 1
  • Jingjing Miao
    • 1
  1. 1.The Key Laboratory of Mariculture, Ministry of EducationOcean University of ChinaQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China

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