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Effects of starvation on energy metabolism and crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (CHH) of the Atlantic ghost crab Ocypode quadrata (Fabricius, 1787)

Abstract

Ocypode quadrata, a crab species found in sandy beaches along the western Atlantic coast, spends the winter months underground without feeding. The main objective of this work was to determine whether O. quadrata is naturally adapted to food deprivation for a period of time. The effects of starvation on the energy metabolism and the expression levels of crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (CHH), known to have an adaptive role in response to many types of environmental stresses, were investigated. First, we isolated the full-length cDNA sequence of OcqCHH and localized the cells producing CHH neuropeptide in eyestalk ganglia by immunostaining. Second, the levels of OcqCHH transcripts were determined in the fed and starved (15 days) intermolt crabs using qRT-PCR assay. The concentration of carbohydrate and lipids in the hemolymph, muscle and hepatopancreas was measured. OcqCHH cDNA sequence has the typical structure of CHHs, and its expression did not change by starvation. Starvation decreased hemolymphatic glucose, muscular glycogen and hepatopancreatic lipids. This implies that hepatopancreas lipolysis followed by β-oxidation, hepatopancreas gluconeogenesis and muscular glycogenolysis may be responsible for the energy requirements of O. quadrata during nutritional stress. Taken together, these results suggest that O. quadrata may be adapted to nutritional deprivation for an extended period of time.

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Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Brazil, for the senior fellowship to A. S. Vinagre and US National Science Foundation program award to J. S. Chung (No. 1146774). The authors thank P.G. Ross, Richard A. Snyder and all the staff of the Eastern Shore Laboratory, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS), for their assistance with animal collection and all the staff of the Aquaculture Research Center (ARC), Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), for the help with tank system. A.S. Vinagre acknowledges Professor Richard W. Hill for the introduction to VIMS team and Juliana Batista Graceli and Bettina Koepke, for the help during the field trips. We also thank Leah Maurer for revising the manuscript.

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Correspondence to A. S. Vinagre.

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Supplementary Fig. 1

Maintenance of O. quadrata. A) Aquaria system. B) The dimension of each aquarium. C) A burrow of O. quadrata is seen in the sand. (JPEG 89 kb)

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Vinagre, A.S., Chung, J.S. Effects of starvation on energy metabolism and crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (CHH) of the Atlantic ghost crab Ocypode quadrata (Fabricius, 1787). Mar Biol 163, 3 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-015-2797-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-015-2797-3

Keywords

  • Triglyceride
  • Sandy Beach
  • Carapace Length
  • Carapace Width
  • Crustacean Hyperglycemic Hormone