Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 2, pp 273–284 | Cite as

Effect of ambient oxygen concentration on activities of enzymatic antioxidant defences and aerobic metabolism in the hydrothermal vent worm, Paralvinella grasslei

  • Benjamin Marie
  • Bertrand Genard
  • Jean-François Rees
  • Franck ZalEmail author
Research Article


The alvinellid Paralvinella grasslei is a common endemic polychaete from the deep-sea hydrothermal vent communities located on the East Pacific Rise (EPR). These organisms colonise a large range of microhabitats around active sites where physico-chemical conditions are thought to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS). Furthermore, in this aerobic organism, ROS could also be generated by the activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. In this paper, we investigated the effect of ambient oxygen concentration on the activities of three essential antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, SOD; catalase, CAT; glutathione peroxidase, GPX) and their relationships with the activity of enzymes involved in aerobic metabolism (cytochrome c oxidase, COX; citrate synthase, CS). Results of incubation of P. grasslei in a high-pressure vessel with circulating seawater at different oxygen partial pressures indicate that this worm regulates COX and CS activities differently in gills and body wall. CAT and GPX activities increase in these tissues when animals are maintained in filtered surface seawater. Moreover, levels of malondialdehyde increase in gills, testifying that oxidative damage occurs under these conditions. CAT and GPX activities are positively related to COX and CS activities, but no correlation was detected between SOD and the metabolic enzyme activities. In comparison with littoral annelids, SOD activities are very high whereas CAT activities are very low or absent in P. grasslei. The possible reasons for the occurrence of such differences are discussed.


Body Wall Aerobic Metabolism East Pacific Rise Ambient Oxygen Concentration Body Wall Tissue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank the captain and the crews of the N/O L’Atalante and ROV Victor 6000. We are also very grateful to Nadine Le Bris and Françoise Gaill, the chief scientists of the French research cruise PHARE’02. We thank Dominique Davoult for his advice on statistical treatments. We would also like to thank Bruce Shillito for the experiments realized in IPOCAMP and Cécile Marchand for assistance in the laboratory. We thank the EAEM team from Roscoff for their advises and comments on this work. We are also very grateful to the four anonymous referees for their useful comments and remarks, which considerably improve the submitted form of this manuscript. These studies were supported by the French Ministère des Affaires Etrangères under the Integrated Program Action called Tournesol (N° 05365 GT) and the Fonds de la Recherche Fondamentale Collective (FRFC) convention 2.4595.06.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Marie
    • 1
  • Bertrand Genard
    • 2
  • Jean-François Rees
    • 2
  • Franck Zal
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Equipe Ecophysiologie : Adaptation et Evolution MoléculairesUPMC – CNRS UMR 7144, Station BiologiqueRoscoff cedexFrance
  2. 2.Institut des Sciences de la VieUniversité Catholique de Louvain, Animal Biology UnitLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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