Fisheries Science

, Volume 85, Issue 6, pp 979–989 | Cite as

Comparative transcriptome analysis reveals the expression and characterization of digestive enzyme genes in the hepatopancreas of the Chinese mitten crab

  • Huayun Guo
  • Dan Tang
  • Xueling Shi
  • Qiong Wu
  • Ruobing Liu
  • Boping Tang
  • Zhengfei WangEmail author
Original Article Biology


The Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir japonica sinensis is one of the most common aquaculture species cultivated in China. The crab is an omnivore, and its hepatopancreas absorbs and stores nutrients. The aim of this study was to elucidate the expressions of the digestive enzyme genes and determine their respective roles in regulating digestive capacity in E. j. sinensis. We sequenced the hepatopancreatic transcriptomes of crabs fed a meat diet (MD), a vegetarian diet (VD), or a mixed diet (MV) and compared the gene expression patterns of these three groups of crabs. A total of 305,887 unigenes were obtained, of which 8747, 10,963, and 8877 were significantly differentially expressed in the comparisons between the MD and MV, VD and MV, and MD and VD diets, respectively. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database-based enrichment analysis revealed that the differentially expressed gene (DEG) responses in the hepatopancreases to the MD mainly involved the “pancreatic secretion,” “glutathione metabolism,” “sphingolipid metabolism,” “fatty acid metabolism,” and “glycerolipid metabolism pathways.” DEG responses to the VD based on KEGG analysis mainly involved the “galactose metabolism,” “starch and sucrose metabolism,” and “fructose and mannose metabolism” pathways. The key digestive enzymes, including trypsin, β-glucosidase, chitinase, and triacylglycerol lipase, were identified. Our results further our understanding of crustacean hepatopancreatic functions during food digestion and provide resources for further studies regarding the molecular basis of omnivorous diets in crustaceans.


Transcriptome Chinese mitten crab Hepatopancreas Omnivore Digestive enzyme 



This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Number 31702014), and Doctoral Scientific Research Foundation of Yancheng Teachers University to ZFW, and Open Foundation of Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Bioresources of Saline Soils (Grant Number JKLBS2016007).

Author contributions

HYG, DT, XLS, WQ, RBL, BPT, and ZFW designed and conceived the experiment. ZFW and HYG performed the data analysis and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

Ethical approval

The sampling location was not privately owned or protected, and field sampling did not involve protected species.

Supplementary material

12562_2019_1358_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (201 kb)
Online Resource 1. Start and end body weights of Eriocheir japonica sinensis. (PDF 201 kb)
12562_2019_1358_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (201 kb)
Online Resource 2. Carbohydrate, lipid, and protein ratios in MD, VD and MV. (PDF 201 kb)
12562_2019_1358_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (251 kb)
Online Resource 3. Species distribution of the BLASTx matches of the hepatopancreas transcriptome unigenes. (PDF 250 kb)
12562_2019_1358_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (292 kb)
Online Resource 4. GO function classifcation of the assembled unigenes in the hepatopancreas of Eriocheir japonica sinensis, including three classes of biological process, cellular process and molecular function. (PDF 291 kb)
12562_2019_1358_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (467 kb)
Online Resource 5. Significantly enriched pathways in MD vs MV, VD vs MV and MD vs VD under KEGG enrichment analysis. (PDF 466 kb)
12562_2019_1358_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (360 kb)
Online Resource 6. DEGs numbers in KEGG enrichment terms involved in nutrition metabolism. (PDF 360 kb)
12562_2019_1358_MOESM7_ESM.pdf (73 kb)
Online Resource 7. Phylogenetic tree of the chitinase family. (PDF 73 kb)
12562_2019_1358_MOESM8_ESM.pdf (206 kb)
Online Resource 8. Gene expression patterns of different digestive enzymes in Eriocheir japonica sinensis fed with three diets (MD, VD and MV). (PDF 205 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Bioresources of Saline Soils, Jiangsu Synthetic Innovation Center for Coastal Bio-agriculture, Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Coastal Wetland Bioresources and Environmental Protection, School of Ocean and Biological EngineeringYancheng Teachers UniversityYanchengChina
  2. 2.College of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical EngineeringNanjing Tech UniversityNanjingChina

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