Immunohistochemical localization of urea and ammonia transporters in two confamilial fish species, the ureotelic gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta) and the ammoniotelic plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus)
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This study aims to illustrate potential transport mechanisms behind the divergent approaches to nitrogen excretion seen in the ureotelic toadfish (Opsanus beta) and the ammoniotelic plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus). Specifically, we wish to confirm the expression of a urea transporter (UT), which is found in the gill of the toadfish and which is responsible for the unique "pulsing" nature of urea excretion and to localize the transporter within specific gill cells and at specific cellular locations. Additionally, the localization of ammonia transporters (Rhesus glycoproteins; Rhs) within the gill of both the toadfish and midshipman was explored. Toadfish UT (tUT) was found within Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase (NKA)-enriched cells, i.e., ionocytes (probably mitochondria-rich cells), especially along the basolateral membrane and potentially on the apical membrane. In contrast, midshipman UT (pnUT) immunoreactivity did not colocalize with NKA immunoreactivity and was not found along the filaments but instead within the lamellae. The cellular location of Rh proteins was also dissimilar between the two fish species. In toadfish gills, the Rh isoform Rhcg1 was expressed in both NKA-reactive cells and non-reactive cells, whereas Rhbg and Rhcg2 were only expressed in the latter. In contrast, Rhbg, Rhcg1 and Rhcg2 were expressed in both NKA-reactive and non-reactive cells of midshipman gills. In an additional transport epithelium, namely the intestine, the expression of both UTs and Rhs was similar between the two species, with only subtle differences being observed.
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