Pheromones are thought to play a critical role in triggering spawning in oysters, but none have been identified to date. Male and female oysters are stimulated to spawn by oyster sperm. Male oysters are also stimulated to spawn by oyster eggs, but females are not. Earlier studies suggest that the spawning activity associated with sperm may be membrane-bound. As a first step toward isolating and characterizing a spawning pheromone in sperm of the oyster Crassostrea virginica, we used: (1) an extraction and purification procedure for preparing oyster sperm membranes; (2) a method to selectively remove extrinsic sperm membrane-associated proteins; and (3) a bioassay to monitor the robust, repetitive adductor muscle contractions that occur concurrently with oyster spawning. This report presents evidence that the candidate oyster sperm pheromone is a heat- and trypsin-sensitive intrinsic membrane protein. A synthetic or recombinant fragment of the pheromone could be used in the aquaculture industry to induce spawning in oysters.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Journal of Shellfish Research|
|State||Published - Dec 2002|
- Crassostrea virginica
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science