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Secretion of byssal threads in Mytilus galloprovincialis: quantitative and qualitative values after spawning stress

, : Secretion of byssal threads in Mytilus galloprovincialis: quantitative and qualitative values after spawning stress. Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology 180(1): 95-104

The effect of spawning events of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis on both quantitative and qualitative values of byssus secretion and its associated attachment force was investigated. Byssogenesis rates and absorption efficiency values were significantly reduced after spawning of individuals. However, the maintenance of individuals under sub-optimal conditions (lack of microalgae in the diet) for a week caused no effect on thread's number. Surprisingly, the attachment force varied within a narrow range of values (1.7-1.9 N) with the exception of a significant drop in the experimental group spawned and kept unfed (1.0 N; P<0.001), most likely due to a similar pattern of the thread's thickness variability. Qualitative analysis concerned to the amino acid composition of the byssus highlighted a higher presence of the basic residues histidine and lysine in threads secreted by spawned individuals. The presence of both histidine and lysine residues in the byssal collagen is associated to the formation of cross-links and specifically histidine has a functionality with a pronounced effect on metal chelation to stabilise the integrity of the byssus. Results reported here evidence the necessity to integrate all components that eventually determines the attachment strength of the mussels to get more insight to the plasticity of such secretion. Morphology of the byssus (thickness) secreted under different endogenous conditions of mussels was the major parameter to explain variability in the attachment force. Moreover, aminoacidic composition as quality term of the byssus secreted may also contribute to understand the plasticity of this secretion and needs to be extended in further surveys.


PMID: 19618191

DOI: 10.1007/s00360-009-0392-y

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