Aside from their critical role in reproduction, abalone gonads serve as an indicator of sexual maturity and energy balance, two key considerations for effective abalone culture. Temperate abalone farmers face issues with tank restocking with highly marketable abalone owing to inefficient spawning induction methods. The identification of key proteins in sexually mature abalone will serve as the foundation for a greater understanding of reproductive biology. Addressing this knowledge gap is the first step towards improving abalone aquaculture methods. Proteomic profiling of female and male gonads of greenlip abalone, Haliotis laevigata, was undertaken using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Owing to the incomplete nature of abalone protein databases, in addition to searching against two publicly available databases, a custom database comprising genomic data was used. Overall, 162 and 110 proteins were identified in females and males respectively with 40 proteins common to both sexes. For proteins involved in sexual maturation, sperm and egg structure, motility, acrosomal reaction and fertilization, 23 were identified only in females, 18 only in males and 6 were common. Gene ontology analysis revealed clear differences between the female and male protein profiles reflecting a higher rate of protein synthesis in the ovary and higher metabolic activity in the testis. Biological significance: A comprehensive mass spectrometry-based analysis was performed to profile the abalone gonad proteome providing the foundation for future studies of reproduction in abalone. Key proteins involved in both reproduction and energy balance were identified. Genomic resources were utilised to build a database of molluscan proteins yielding >. 60% more protein identifications than in a standard workflow employing public protein databases.
- Haliotis laevigata
- Mass spectrometry