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Synthesis of gill Na+ -K+ -ATPase in Atlantic salmon smolts: differences in alfa-mRNA and alfa-protein levels

D'Cotta H., Valotaire C., Le Gac F., Prunet P.. 2000. American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 278 (1) : R101-R110.

DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.2000.278.1.R101

Several parameters were analyzed to determine the mechanisms responsible for the enhancement of the gill Na+ -K+ -ATPase activity of Atlantic salmon smolts. A major alfa-subunit transcript of 3.7 kb was revealed by Northern blot in both parr and smolt gills when hybridized with two distinct cDNA probes. The alfa-mRNA abundance demonstrated an increase to maximal levels in smolts at an early stage of the parr-smolt transformation. This was followed by a gradual rise in alfa-protein levels, revealed by Western blots with specific antibodies and by an increase in gill Na+ -K+ -ATPase hydrolytic activity, both only reaching maximum levels a month later, at the peak of the transformation process. Parr fish experienced a decrease in alfa-mRNA abundance and had basal levels of alfa-protein and enzyme activity. Measurement of the binding of [3H]ouabain to Na+ -K+ -ATPase was characterized in smolts and parr gill membranes showing more than a twofold elevation in smolts and was of high affinity in both groups (dissociation constant = 20-23 nM). Modulation of the enzyme due to increased salinity was also observed in seawater-transferred smolts, as demonstrated by an increase in alfa-mRNA levels after 24 h with a rise in Na+ -K+ -ATPase activity occurring only after 11 days. No qualitative change in alfa-expression was revealed at either the mRNA or protein level. Immunological identification of the alfa-protein was performed with polyclonal antibodies directed against the rat alfa-specific isoforms, revealing that parr, freshwater, and seawater smolts have an alfa3-like isoform. This study shows that the increase in Na+ -K+ -ATPase activity in smolt gills depends first on an increase in the alfa-mRNA expression and is followed by a slower rise in -protein abundance that eventually leads to a higher synthesis of Na+ -K+ pumps.

Mots-clés : saumon; sodium; salmo salar; protéine

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