Comparative proteomics and codon substitution analysis reveal mechanisms of differential resistance to hypoxia in congeneric snails.
Although high-throughput proteomics has been widely applied to study mechanisms of environmental adaptation, the conclusions from studies that are based on one species can be confounded by phylogeny. We compare the freshwater snail Pomacea canaliculata (a notorious invasive species) and its congener Pomacea diffusa (a non-invasive species) to understand the molecular mechanisms of their differential resistance to hypoxia. A 72-h acute exposure experiment showed that P. canaliculata is more tolerant to hypoxia than P. diffusa. The two species were then exposed to three levels of dissolved oxygen (6.7, 2.0 and 1.0 mg L-1) for 8 h, and their gill proteins were analyzed using iTRAQ-coupled LC-MS/MS. The two species showed striking differences in protein expression profiles, with the more hypoxia tolerant P. canaliculata having more up-regulated proteins in signal transduction and down-regulated proteins in glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Evolutionary analysis revealed five orthologous genes encoding differentially expressed proteins having clear signal of positive selection, indicating selection has acted on some of the hypoxia responsive genes. Our case study has highlighted the potential of integrated proteomics and comparative evolutionary analysis for understanding the genetic basis of adaptation to global environmental change in non-model species.