Transcriptional Responses of Olive Flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) to Low Temperature


The olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) is an economically important flatfish in marine aquaculture with a broad thermal tolerance ranging from 14 to 23uC. Cold-tolerant flounder that can survive during the winter season at a temperature of less than 14uC might facilitate the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the response to cold stress. In this study, the transcriptional response of flounder to cold stress (0.760.05uC) was characterized using RNA sequencing. Transcriptome sequencing was performed using the Illumina MiSeq platform for the cold-tolerant (CT) group, which survived under the cold stress; the cold-sensitive (CS) group, which could barely survive at the low temperature; and control group, which was not subjected to cold treatment. In all, 29,021 unigenes were generated. Compared with the unigene expression profile of the control group, 410 unigenes were up-regulated and 255 unigenes were down-regulated in the CT group, whereas 593 unigenes were up-regulated and 289 unigenes were down-regulated in the CS group. Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes analyses revealed that signal transduction, lipid metabolism, digestive system, and signaling molecules and interaction were the most highly enriched pathways for the genes that were differentially expressed under cold stress. All these pathways could be assigned to the following four biological functions for flounder that can survive under cold stress: signal response to cold stress, cell repair/regeneration, energy production, and cell membrane construction and fluidity.