Sexual dimorphism in the gonad lipidome of blue mussels (Mytilus sp.): New insights from a global lipidomics approach

Blue mussels (Mytilus sp.) are an economically important species for European aquaculture. Their importance as a food source is expected to increase in the coming net-zero society due to their low environmental footprint; however, their production is affected by anthropogenic stressors and climate change. During reproduction, lipids are key molecules for mussels as they are the main source of energy on which newly hatched embryos depend in the first days of their development. In this work, blue mussels of different origins are analysed, focusing on the differences in lipid composition between the ovary (BMO) and the testis (BMT). The lipidome of blue mussel gonads (BMG) is studied here by combining traditional lipid profiling methods, such as fatty acid and lipid class analysis, with untargeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) lipidomics. The approach used here enabled the identification of 770 lipid molecules from 23 different lipid classes in BMG. BMT, which consists of billions of spermatocytes, had greater amounts of cell membrane and membrane lipid components such as FA18:0, C20 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), free sterols (ST), ceramide phosphoethanolamines (CerPE), ceramide aminoethylphosphonates (CAEP), cardiolipins (CL), glycerophosphocholines (PC), glycerophosphoethanolamines (PE) and glycerophosphoserines (PS). In BMO, saturated fatty acids (FA14:0 and FA16:0), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and other storage components such as C18-PUFA accumulated in triradylglycerolipids (TG) and alkyldiacylglycerols (neutral plasmalogens, TG O-), which, together with terpenes, wax esters and cholesterol esters, make up most of oocytes yolk reserves. BMO also had higher levels of ceramides (Cer) and generally alkyl/alkenyl glycerophospholipids (mainly plasmanyl/plasmenyl PC), suggesting a role for these lipids in vitellogenesis. Non-methylene interrupted dienoic fatty acids (NMID FA), typically found in plasmalogens, were the only membrane-forming PUFA predominantly detected in BMO. The results of this study are of great importance for clarifying the lipid composition of BMG and provide an important basis for future studies on the reproductive physiology of these organisms.

Keywords: Lipidomics; Fatty acid; Lipid classes; HPLC; Gonads; Mussel; LC-MS; Testis; Ovary; Lipids


Laudicella VA, Carboni S, Whitfield PD, Doherty MK, Hughes AD

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D: Genomics and Proteomics
10, 20, 2023
Pages: 101150
DOI: 10.1016/j.cbd.2023.101150