Nutritional mitigation of winter thermal stress in gilthead seabream: Associated metabolic pathways and potential indicators of nutritional state

Nadège Richard*, Tomé S. Silva, Tune Wulff, Denise Schrama, Jorge P. Dias, Pedro M.L. Rodrigues, Luís E.C. Conceição

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


A trial was carried out with gilthead seabream juveniles, aiming to investigate the ability of an enhanced dietary formulation (diet Winter Feed, WF, containing a higher proportion of marine-derived protein sources and supplemented in phospholipids, vitamin C, vitamin E and taurine) to assist fish in copingwith winter thermal stress, compared to a low-cost commercial diet (diet CTRL). In order to identify the metabolic pathways affected by WF diet, a comparative two dimensional differential in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) analysis of fish liver proteome (pH 4-7) was undertaken at the end of winter. A total of 404 protein spots, out of 1637 detected, were differentially expressed between the two groups of fish. Mass spectrometry analysis of selected spots suggested that WF diet improved oxidative stress defense, reduced endoplasmic reticulumstress, enhanced metabolic flux through methionine cycle and phenylalanine/tyrosine catabolism, and induced higher aerobic metabolism and gluconeogenesis. Results support the notion that WF diet had a positive effect on fish nutritional state by partially counteracting the effect of thermal stress and underlined the sensitivity of proteomedata for nutritional andmetabolic profiling purposes. Intragroup variability and co-measured information were also used to pinpoint which proteins displayed a stronger relation with fish nutritional state. Significance: Winter low water temperature is a critical factor for gilthead seabream farming in the Mediterranean region, leading to a reduction of feed intake, which often results in metabolic and immunological disorders and stagnation of growth performances. In a recent trial, we investigated the ability of an enhanced dietary formulation (diet WF) to assist gilthead seabream in coping with winter thermal stress, compared to a standard commercial diet (diet CTRL). Within this context, in the present work, we identified metabolic processes that are involved in the stress-mitigating effect observed with diet WF, by undertaking a comparative analysis of fish liver proteome at the end ofwinter. This study brings information relative to biological processes that are involved in gilthead seabream winter thermal stress and shows that these can be mitigated through a nutritional strategy, assisting gilthead seabream to deal better with winter thermal conditions. Furthermore, the results show that proteomic information not only clearly distinguishes the two dietary groups from each other, but also captures heterogeneities that reflect intra-group differences in nutritional state. This was exploited in this work to refine the variable selection strategy so that protein spots displaying a stronger correlation with "nutritional state" could be identified as possible indicators of gilthead seabream metabolic and nutritional state. Finally, this study shows that gel-based proteomics seems to provide more reliable information than transmissive FT-IR spectroscopy, for the purposes of nutritional and metabolic profiling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquaculture
  • Gilthead seabream
  • Liver
  • Proteomics
  • Thermal stress


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