Metallothionein-like proteins in the blue crab Callinectes sapidus: Effect of water salinity and ions
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The effect of water salinity and ions on metallothionein-like proteins (MTLP) concentration was evaluated in the blue crab Callinectes sapidus. MTLP concentration was measured in tissues (hepatopancreas and gills) of crabs acclimated to salinity 30 ppt and abruptly subjected to a hypo-osmotic shock (salinity 2 ppt). It was also measured in isolated gills (anterior and posterior) of crabs acclimated to salinity 30 ppt. Gills were perfused with and incubated in an isosmotic saline solution (ISS) or perfused with ISS and incubated in a hypo-osmotic saline solution (HSS). The effect of each single water ion on gill MTLP concentration was also analyzed in isolated and perfused gills through experiments of ion substitution in the incubation medium. In vivo, MTLP concentration was higher in hepatopancreas than in gills, being not affected by the hypo-osmotic shock. However, MTLP concentration in posterior and anterior gills significantly increased after 2 and 24 h of hypo-osmotic shock, respectively. In vitro, it was also increased when anterior and posterior gills were perfused with ISS and incubated in HSS. In isolated and perfused posterior gills, MTLP concentration was inversely correlated with the calcium concentration in the ISS used to incubate gills. Together, these findings indicate that an increased gill MTLP concentration in low salinity is an adaptive response of the blue crab C. sapidus to the hypo-osmotic stress. This response is mediated, at least in part, by the calcium concentration in the gill bath medium. The data also suggest that the trigger for this increase is purely branchial and not systemic.
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