The production of a cultured pearl is the result of a complex interplay between the donor and recipient oysters. However, there is a paucity of information on the relationship between donor and recipient oyster gene expression patterns and pearl quality. Shell matrix proteins affect not only the formation of the shell, but also that of the pearls. We compared the gene expression patterns of five shell matrix proteins (msi60, nacrein, msi31, prismalin-14, and aspein) in the mantle edge (ME), which forms the prismatic layer, and the mantle center (MC), which forms the nacreous layer, between high- (HP) and low quality pearl- (LP) producing recipient oysters. After culturing for about two months, ME and MC tissues were collected from nine recipient oysters: four with HP, five with LP. In the ME, the average threshold cycle (ΔCT) for aspein was higher in HP than in LP (t-test, p = 0.03). Additionally, in the MC, the average ΔCT for msi60 was lower in HP than in LP (p = 0.06). This means the relative expression level of msi60 in the mantle of HP was higher than that of LP, and expression level of aspein in the mantle of HP was lower than that of LP. Pearl quality was closely related to the expression patterns of shell matrix protein genes of recipient oysters.
shell matrix proteins