Marine Biology

, 166:96 | Cite as

Lipid and fatty acid profiles of gametes and spawned gonads of Arbacia dufresnii (Echinodermata: Echinoidea): sexual differences in the lipids of nutritive phagocytes

  • M. Enriqueta Díaz de Vivar
  • Erica V. Zárate
  • Tamara Rubilar
  • Lucía Epherra
  • Marisa G. Avaro
  • Mary A. SewellEmail author
Original Paper


Sea urchin gonads contain nutritive phagocytes (NP) that store nutrients such as protein, lipid and carbohydrates for use during the production of gametes. While there is some information on the role of protein, particularly major yolk protein (MYP), during gametogenesis, very little is known about the role of lipids and their component fatty acids. We compared the lipid and FA profile of mature Arbacia dufresnii gonads (intact), with gonads that had been induced to spawn (spawned) and their associated gametes. The total lipid concentration decreased in females from the intact to the spawned gonads, and with a minimum value in the eggs, whilst male intact and spawned gonads had similar lipid concentrations, with significantly lower lipid concentration only in the sperm. Sex was the main factor affecting FA profile in the gonads (intact, spawned) and gametes of A. dufresnii, with differences in both the variety of FA, their total concentration and proportion. Interestingly, sexual differences in FA profile of the gonads are due not only to the presence of mature gametes, but also due to the NP and gametes remaining after spawning. As male and female sea urchins have the same basic gonad wall and NP structure, and the same echinoferrin based system for deposition of the MYP in the NP, our study reveals an unexplored biochemical complexity in the lipids and fatty acids of the NP within sea urchin gonads that has implications for future research.



We thank the University of Auckland Centre for Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics for assistance with the GC–MS analysis, Dr. Manuel Weinkauf for writing BenjaminiHochberg.xlsx, and the anonymous reviewers whose comments have improved the manuscript.


This study received financial support from Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco (PI 822/2010) and the University of Auckland (MAS).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Animals were collected using a permit provided by the Secretary of Fauna and Flora of Chubut Province, Argentina. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

227_2019_3544_MOESM1_ESM.docx (38 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 37 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Química de Organismos Marinos, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Sede Puerto MadrynUniversidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan BoscoPuerto MadrynArgentina
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Oceanografía BiológicaCentro para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos (CESIMAR–CONICET)Puerto MadrynArgentina

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