Five species of bivalves and two species of vestimentiferan tubeworms were collected from hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, and the composition of their free amino acid and related compounds analysed. Like other marine molluscs, taurine, glycine, glutamic acid, and alanine were abundant in the seep bivalves, but, unlike other molluscs, hypotaurine and thiotaurine were also abundant in the seep species. The relative levels of the most abundant amino compounds indicate that glycine is likely to be an important osmoregulatory compound in the bivalves, but not in the vestimentiferans. A consistent pattern of decreasing taurine:glycine ratio with increasing depth was evident in both vent and seep bivalves, and attributed to differences in the relative availability of taurine and glycine in their diet. Additionally, the generally high glutamate levels and higher levels in the symbiont-containing gills are interpreted as consistent with the proposed role of glutamate as a nutritive transfer molecule in these symbioses. The distribution of hypotaurine and thiotaurine in the seep species is discussed in relation to previously proposed hypotheses on the function of these compounds: hypotaurine as an antioxidant, and thiotaurine as a binding and transport molecule for reduced-sulphur species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science