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Keywords:

  • chloride cell;
  • Na+,K+-ATPase;
  • acclimation;
  • teleost

Abstract

The teleosts Trematomus bernacchii thrive in southern oceanic waters with temperatures below 0°C. These fish have serum osmolalities almost double those found in fish of temperate waters, thereby lowering their serum's freezing point and the energy needed for ionic homeostasis. Upon warm acclimation to 4°C, T. bernacchii decrease their serum osmolality and increase the Na+,K+-ATPase activity in their gills. Na+,K+-ATPase α1-, α2-, and α3-subunit isoforms are expressed in the gills of T. bernacchii and it is thought that Na+,K+-ATPase subunit composition in chloride cells changes with warm acclimation. Using immunohistochemistry, we compared the number of chloride cells expressing various α-isoforms of the Na+,K+-ATPase in the gills of cold- and warm-acclimated T. bernacchii. We found no change in the number of α2- or α3-immunopositive cells in warm-acclimated fish gills or in the number of cells immunopositive for the Na+,K+,2Cl cotransporter. However, the number of pan-α-immunopositive (recognizing all three α-isoforms) and α1-immunopositive cells both increased in warm-acclimated fish. This suggests that changes in the number of α1-isoform-expressing chloride cells could contribute to the increased Na+,K+-ATPase activity that occurs with warm-acclimation. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.