Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences


Lars Tomanek


Intertidal mussels regularly experience emersion-induced anoxia, in contrast to normoxic conditions experienced during submersion. We therefore hypothesized that acclimation to a tidal rhythm, as opposed to a rhythm of constant submersion, preconditions the proteome of the California mussel, Mytilus californianus, to respond differently to emersion-induced anoxia. Following acclimation, mussels either continued to receive the acclimation conditions (control) or were exposed to 100% nitrogengas (anoxia) during aerial emersion. We collected gill tissue for subsequent analysis of protein abundance with 2D gel electrophoresis and protein identification with tandem mass spectrometry. Relative to subtidally-acclimated mussels, tidally-acclimated mussels showed a greater propensity to respond to distrupted protein homeostasis during emersion through higher levels of several small heat shock protein isoforms, while they showed lower levels of several chaperones involved in redox-sensitive protein maturation in the endoplasmic reticulum during acute anoxia. Several metabolic proteins showed elevated levels in tidally-acclimated mussels, suggesting a compensatory response to reduced feeding times. However, changes in the abundance of several tricarboxylic acid cycle enzymes (e.g. aconitase, succinate dehydrogenase) suggest that tidally-acclimated mussels are also primed to sense reactive oxygen species (ROS) and limit their production, respectively. These findings are further supported by higher abundances of several aldehyde dehydrogenases and thioredoxin peroxidase, which function as scavengers of aldehydes and ROS, common products of lipid peroxidation. Finally, tidally-acclimated mussels are also more responsive to changes in cytoskeletal and vesicular trafficking dynamics in response to acute anoxia. Together, our analysis showed that proteostasis, energy metabolism, oxidative stress and cytoskeletal and trafficking processes are all involved in priming tidally-acclimated mussels to respond more dynamically to acute emersion-induced anoxia in Mytilus gill.