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Mitochondrial membranes in cardiac muscle from Antarctic notothenioid fishes vary in phospholipid composition and membrane fluidity

Biederman, Amanda M., Kuhn, Donald E., O'Brien, Kristin M., Crockett, Elizabeth L.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology 2019 v.235 pp. 46-53
Chaenocephalus aceratus, Notothenia coriiceps, Salangidae, cardiac output, ectothermy, fish, fluorescence, heat tolerance, lipid composition, lipid peroxidation, membrane fluidity, metabolism, mitochondria, mitochondrial membrane, myocardium, phosphatidylcholines, phosphatidylethanolamines, physicochemical properties, temperature
Antarctic notothenioid fishes are highly stenothermal, yet their tolerance for warming is species-dependent. Because a body of literature points to the loss of cardiac function as underlying thermal limits in ectothermic animals, we investigated potential relationships among properties of ventricular mitochondrial membranes in notothenioids with known differences in both cardiac mitochondrial metabolism and organismal thermal tolerance. Fluidity of mitochondrial membranes was quantified by fluorescence depolarization for the white-blooded Chaenocephalus aceratus and the red-blooded Notothenia coriiceps. In these same membranes, lipid compositions and products of lipid peroxidation, the latter of which can disrupt membrane order, were analyzed in both species and in a second icefish, Pseudochaenichthys georgianus. Mitochondrial membranes from C. aceratus were significantly more fluid than those of the more thermotolerant species N. coriiceps (P < .0001). Consistent with this, ratios of total phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) to total phosphatidylcholine (PC) were lower in membranes from both species of icefishes, compared to those of N. coriiceps (P < .05). However, membranes of N. coriiceps displayed a greater unsaturation index (P < .0001). No differences among species were found in membrane products of lipid peroxidation. With rising temperatures, greater contents of PC in mitochondrial membranes from ventricles of icefishes are likely to promote membrane hyperfluidization at a lower temperature than for cardiac mitochondrial membranes from the red-blooded notothenioid. We propose that physical and chemical properties of the mitochondrial membranes may contribute to some of the observed differences in thermal sensitivity of physiological function among these species.