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Distinct Na+/K+/2Cl- cotransporter localization in kidneys and gills of two euryhaline species, rainbow trout and killifish

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The kidney is an organ playing an important role in ion regulation in both freshwater (FW) and seawater (SW) fish. The mechanisms of ion regulation in the fish kidney are less well studied than that of their gills, especially at the level of transporter proteins. We have found striking differences in the pattern of Na+/K+/2Cl- cotransporter (NKCC) expression between species. In the killifish kidney, NKCC is apically localized in the distal and collecting tubules and basolaterally localized in the proximal tubules. However, in the SW killifish gill, NKCC is basolaterally co-localized with Na+/K+-ATPase, whereas in FW, NKCC immunoreactivity is primarily apical, although still colocalized within the same mitochondria-rich cell with basolateral Na+/K+-ATPase. Rainbow trout kidney has NKCC only in the apical membrane of the distal and collecting tubules in both environments, with no signal being detected in the proximal tubule. On the other hand, in the trout gill, NKCC is found basolaterally in both FW and SW environments. An important observation is that, in the gills of rainbow trout, the trailing edge of the filament possesses mostly Na+/K+-ATPase-positive but NKCC-negative mitochondria-rich cells, whereas in the region between and at the roots of the gill lamellae, most mitochondria-rich cells exhibit both Na+/K+-ATPase- and NKCC-positive immunoreactivity. These results suggest that the differential localization of transporters between the two species represents differences in function between these two euryhaline fishes with different life histories and strategies.

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We thank the staff of the Animal Care Facilities of the University of Alberta and St. Francis Xavier University.

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Correspondence to Greg G. Goss.

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Funding for this research was provided by NSERC Discovery Grants to G.G.G. and W.S.M., an Alberta Ingenuity Fund PDF, and a fellowship from the NSERC Research Capacity Development Grant to F.K.

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Katoh, F., Cozzi, R.R.F., Marshall, W.S. et al. Distinct Na+/K+/2Cl- cotransporter localization in kidneys and gills of two euryhaline species, rainbow trout and killifish. Cell Tissue Res 334, 265–281 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-008-0679-4

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  • Mitochondria-rich cells
  • Kidney
  • Gill
  • Na+/K+/2Cl- cotransporter
  • Killifish, Fundulus heteroclitus
  • Rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Teleostei)