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Biochemistry. 1997 Feb 11;36(6):1306-14.

Inner and outer arm axonemal dyneins from the Antarctic rockcod Notothenia coriiceps.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Adaptive compensation of enzymatic activities is common among cold-living poikilotherms. Their enzymes often demonstrate higher activities at low temperatures than do homologs from temperate or thermophilic species. To understand the molecular features necessary for cold adaptation of microtubule motor proteins, we have initiated studies of the flagellar dynein ATPases of Antarctic fishes (body temperature range = -1.8 to +2 degrees C). Dyneins were isolated by high-salt extraction of demembranated sperm axonemes from the Antarctic yellowbelly rockcod, Notothenia coriiceps. Although solubilization of inner arms was incomplete, an inner arm dynein was recognized as a discrete complex containing one major dynein heavy chain (DHC) and sedimenting through sucrose gradients at approximately 12 S. Like inner arm dyneins from Chlamydomonas, the fish complex contained an actin-immunoreactive protein of 43 kDa and a 30-kDa protein. One isoform of the inner arm DHC gene family of N. coriiceps was detected by the polymerase chain reaction, and Southern analysis established that this DHC gene is present at one copy per haploid genome. Outer arm dynein was extracted quantitatively by high-salt treatment, contained two DHCs (one major, one minor), and sedimented through sucrose gradients as a polydisperse, aggregating system. Associated with the outer arm DHCs were five presumptive intermediate chains (ICs) of 66-91 kDa, immunologically defined by their cross-reactivity to four monoclonal antibodies specific for ICs from other organisms. The basal (non-microtubule-stimulated) specific ATPase activities of the N. coriiceps inner and outer arm dyneins were approximately 0.07 and approximately 0.04 micromol of P(i) min(-1) mg(-1), respectively, at 0 degrees C, attained their maxima (approximately 0.1 micromol of P(i) min(-1) mg(-1)) at 9 and 19 degrees C, respectively, and at higher temperatures declined substantially. Furthermore, the activities of the fish dyneins at temperatures < or = 15 degrees C were significantly larger than that of outer arm dynein from the mesophile Tetrahymena. These results suggest that the greater catalytic efficiencies of N. coriiceps inner and outer arm dyneins at low temperatures are due to enhanced polypeptide flexibility in the active sites of their protein subunits. We conclude that temperature adaptation of flagellar dyneins from Antarctic fishes is compatible with substantial conservation of primary and quaternary structure.

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