High contents of hypotaurine and thiotaurine in hydrothermal-vent gastropods without thiotrophic endosymbionts.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Invertebrates at hydrothermal vents and cold seeps must cope with high levels of toxic H2S. In addition, these and all marine invertebrates must balance internal osmotic pressure with that of the ocean. Cells usually do so with organic osmolytes, primarily free amino acids (e.g., taurine, glycine) and methylamines (e.g., betaine). At vents and seeps, clams, mussels, and vestimentiferans with thiotrophic endosymbionts have high levels of hypotaurine and thiotaurine (a product of hypotaurine and HS-). These serve as osmolytes but their primary function may be to transport and/or detoxify sulfide; indeed, thiotaurine has been proposed to be a marker of thiotrophic symbiosis. To test this, we analyzed Depressigyra globulus snails and Lepetodrilus fucensis limpets from Juan de Fuca Ridge vents (1,530 m). Neither has endosymbionts, though the latter has thiotrophic ectosymbionts. Some specimens were rapidly frozen, while other live ones were kept in laboratory chambers, some with and others without sulfide. Non-vent gastropods from a variety of depths (2-3,000 m) were also collected. Tissues were analyzed for major osmolytes and taurine derivatives. The dominant osmolytes of non-vent snails were betaine in all species, and either taurine in shallow-living species or scyllo-inositol, glycerophosphorylcholine, and other amino acids in deep-sea species. In contrast, the dominant osmolytes were hypotaurine and betaine in D. globulus, and hypotaurine in L. fucensis. Both species had thiotaurine (as well as hypotaurine) at levels much greater than previously reported for vent and seep animals without endosymbionts. The ratio of thio- to thio- plus hypotaurine, a possible indicator of sulfide exposure, decreased in both species when kept in laboratory chambers with low or no sulfide, but stayed at high levels in snails kept with 3-5 mM sulfide. Thus, in some vent animals without endosymbionts, sulfide may be detoxified via conversion of hypotaurine to thiotaurine. The latter may be a marker of high sulfide exposure but not of thiotrophic endosymbionts.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rosenberg, NK; Lee, RW; Yancey, PH

Published Date

  • August 1, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 305 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 655 - 662

PubMed ID

  • 16788898

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1548-8969

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/jez.a.316


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States