Functional and metabolic characterization of hemocytes of the green mussel,Perna viridis: in vitroimpacts of temperature

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The green mussel, Perna viridis, is a bivalve mollusk native to Asia and was recently introduced to Florida, USA. Since its first observation in 1999 in Tampa Bay, Florida, green mussel population has expanded considerably, to reach the Atlantic coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Most of currently available studies about the ecology and biology of green mussels were performed in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Very recently, it has been suggested that due to a weak low temperature resistance, green mussels might have already reached the Northern edge of their distribution in the USA. However, there is currently an obvious lack of data about the adaptation capacities of Perna viridis to environmental conditions in Florida, especially at the physiological and cellular levels. In the present work, we determined and characterized the populations of circulating hemocytes, and the cellular components of hemolymph involved in various physiological functions, including immunity. Two main populations were characterized, hyalinocytes and granulocytes. Granulocytes accounted for 60% of circulating cells, and displayed higher phagocytic capacities, lysosomal content and basal oxidative metabolism than hyalinocytes. Hemocyte parameters were not influenced by the size of green mussels. In addition, hemocytes were subjected to acute temperature challenges (10, 20 and 30 °C) and their immune-related functions and metabolism analyzed. Our results showed that 10 °C represent a stressful condition for the Floridian green mussels, as depicted by a low phagocytosis capacity and an increase of oxidative metabolism.

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