Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.00619
Title: Urea synthesis in the African lungfish Protopterus dolloi - Hepatic carbamoyl phosphate synthetase III and glutamine synthetase are upregulated by 6 days of aerial exposure
Authors: Chew, S.F.
Ong, T.F.
Ho, L.
Tam, W.L.
Loong, A.M.
Hiong, K.C.
Wong, W.P.
Ip, Y.K. 
Keywords: Amino acid
Ammonia
Arginase
Carbamoyl phosphate synthetase
Dipnoan
Glutamine synthetase
Lungfish
Ornithine-urea cycle
Protopterus dolloi
Urea
Urea transporter
Issue Date: Oct-2003
Citation: Chew, S.F., Ong, T.F., Ho, L., Tam, W.L., Loong, A.M., Hiong, K.C., Wong, W.P., Ip, Y.K. (2003-10). Urea synthesis in the African lungfish Protopterus dolloi - Hepatic carbamoyl phosphate synthetase III and glutamine synthetase are upregulated by 6 days of aerial exposure. Journal of Experimental Biology 206 (20) : 3615-3624. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.00619
Abstract: Like the marine ray Taeniura lymma, the African lungfish Protopterus dolloi possesses carbamoyl phosphate III (CPS III) in the liver and not carbamoyl phosphate I (CPS I), as in the mouse Mus musculus or as in other African lungfish reported elsewhere. However, similar to other African lungfish and tetrapods, hepatic arginase of P. dolloi is present mainly in the cytosol. Glutamine synthetase activity is present in both the mitochondrial and cytosolic fractions of the liver of P. dolloi. Therefore, we conclude that P. dolloi is a more primitive extant lungfish, which is intermediate between aquatic fish and terrestrial tetrapods, and represents a link in the fish-tetrapod continuum. During 6 days of aerial exposure, the ammonia excretion rate in P. dolloi decreased significantly to 8-16% of the submerged control. However, there were no significant increases in ammonia contents in the muscle, liver or plasma of specimens exposed to air for 6 days. These results suggest that (1) endogenous ammonia production was drastically reduced and (2) endogenous ammonia was detoxified effectively into urea. Indeed, there were significant decreases in glutamate, glutamine and lysine levels in the livers of fish exposed to air, which led to a decrease in the total free amino acid content. This indirectly confirms that the specimen had reduced its rates of proteolysis and/or amino acid catabolism to suppress endogenous ammonia production. Simultaneously, there were significant increases in urea levels in the muscle (8-fold), liver (10.5-fold) and plasma (12.6-fold) of specimens exposed to air for 6 days. Furthermore, there was an increase in the hepatic ornithine-urea cycle (OUC) capacity, with significant increases in the activities of CPS III (3.8-fold), argininosuccinate synthetase + lyase (1.8-fold) and, more importantly, glutamine synthetase (2.2-fold). This is the first report on the upregulation of OUC capacity and urea synthesis rate in an African lungfish exposed to air. Upon re-immersion, the urea excretion rate increased 22-fold compared with that of the control specimen, which is the greatest increase among fish during emersion-immersion transitions and suggests that P. dolloi possesses transporters that facilitate the excretion of urea in water.
Source Title: Journal of Experimental Biology
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/102124
ISSN: 00220949
DOI: 10.1242/jeb.00619
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