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PLOS ONE  2013 

Molecular Characterization of Branchial aquaporin 1aa and Effects of Seawater Acclimation, Emersion or Ammonia Exposure on Its mRNA Expression in the Gills, Gut, Kidney and Skin of the Freshwater Climbing Perch, Anabas testudineus

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061163

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We obtained a full cDNA coding sequence of aquaporin 1aa (aqp1aa) from the gills of the freshwater climbing perch, Anabas testudineus, which had the highest expression in the gills and skin, suggesting an important role of Aqp1aa in these organs. Since seawater acclimation had no significant effects on the branchial and intestinal aqp1aa mRNA expression, and since the mRNA expression of aqp1aa in the gut was extremely low, it can be deduced that Aqp1aa, despite being a water channel, did not play a significant osmoregulatory role in A. testudineus. However, terrestrial exposure led to significant increases in the mRNA expression of aqp1aa in the gills and skin of A. testudineus. Since terrestrial exposure would lead to evaporative water loss, these results further support the proposition that Aqp1aa did not function predominantly for the permeation of water through the gills and skin. Rather, increased aqp1aa mRNA expression might be necessary to facilitate increased ammonia excretion during emersion, because A. testudineus is known to utilize amino acids as energy sources for locomotor activity with increased ammonia production on land. Furthermore, ammonia exposure resulted in significant decreases in mRNA expression of aqp1aa in the gills and skin of A. testudineus, presumably to reduce ammonia influx during ammonia loading. This corroborates previous reports on AQP1 being able to facilitate ammonia permeation. However, a molecular characterization of Aqp1aa from A. testudineus revealed that its intrinsic aquapore might not facilitate NH3 transport. Hence, ammonia probably permeated the central fifth pore of the Aqp1aa tetramer as suggested previously. Taken together, our results indicate that Aqp1aa might have a greater physiological role in ammonia excretion than in osmoregulation in A. testudineus.


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