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Expression of aquaporin 3 in gills of the Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus): Effects of seawater acclimation

Jung, Dawoon, Sato, J. Denry, Shaw, Joseph R., Stanton, Bruce A.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology 2012 v.161 no.3 pp. 320-326
Fundulus heteroclitus, Western blotting, acclimation, ammonia, aquaporins, environmental models, estuarine fish, freshwater, genes, gills, glycerol, immunocytochemistry, messenger RNA, protein synthesis, salinity, seawater, urea
Estuarine fish, such as the Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus), are constantly and rapidly exposed to changes in salinity. Although ion transport in killifish gills during acclimation to increased salinity has been studied extensively, no studies have examined the role of aquaglyceroporin 3 (AQP3), a water, glycerol, urea, and ammonia transporter, during acclimation to increased salinity in this sentinel environmental model organism. The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that transfer from freshwater to seawater decreases AQP3 gene and protein expression in the gill of killifish. Transfer from freshwater to seawater decreased AQP3 mRNA in the gill after 1day, but had no effect on total gill AQP3 protein abundance as determined by western blot. Quantitative confocal immunocytochemistry confirmed western blot studies that transfer from freshwater to seawater did not change total AQP3 abundance in the gill; however, immunocytochemistry revealed that the amount of AQP3 in pillar cells of secondary lamellae decreased in seawater fish, whereas the amount of AQP3 in mitochondrion rich cells (MRC) in primary filaments of the gill increased in seawater fish. This response of AQP3 expression is unique to killifish compared to other teleosts. Although the role of AQP3 in the gill of killifish has not been completely elucidated, these results suggest that AQP3 may play an important role in the ability of killifish to acclimate to increased salinity.