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J Exp Biol. 1995;198(Pt 3):755-66.

Subcellular localization and biochemical properties of the enzymes of carbamoyl phosphate and urea synthesis in the batrachoidid fishes Opsanus beta, Opsanus tau and Porichthys notatus


The subcellular localization and biochemical properties of the enzymes of carbamoyl phosphate and urea synthesis were examined in three representatives of fishes of the family Batrachoididae, the gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta), the oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau) and the plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus). The primary objective of the study was to compare the biochemical characteristics of these fishes, which represent a range between ammoniotelism and ureotelism (O. beta being facultatively ureotelic), with previous patterns observed for an ammoniotelic teleost (Micropterus salmoides, the largemouth bass) and an obligate ureogenic elasmobranch (Squalus acanthias, the dogfish shark). The present study documents the expression of mitochondrial carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (CPSase) III and cytosolic CPSase II (and its associated enzymes of pyrimidine synthesis, dihydro-orotase and aspartate carbamoyltransferase) in the livers of all three batrachoidid species. Both mitochondrial and cytosolic activities of arginase were present in the livers of all three species, as were cytosolic glutamine synthetase and argininosuccinate synthetase and lyase. However, O. beta also showed mitochondrial glutamine synthetase activity and higher total hepatic levels of glutamine synthetase than either O. tau or P. notatus. Taken together, these observations confirm that the arrangement of these enzymes in the batrachoidid fishes has greater similarity to that of M. salmoides than to that of S. acanthias. However, differences within the family appear to coincide with the different nitrogen excretion strategies. O. tau and P. notatus are primarily ammoniotelic and most closely resemble the ammoniotelic M. salmoides, whereas ureotelism in O. beta is correlated with the presence of a mitochondrial glutamine synthetase and the ability to induce higher total glutamine synthetase activities than O. tau or P. notatus. Additionally, isolated mitochondria from O. beta were able to generate citrulline from glutamine, whereas those from O. tau were not. Also in contrast to S. acanthias, glutamine synthetase activities in the mitochondria of O. beta are consistently lower than those of CPSase III. This and other kinetic observations lend support to the hypothesis that glutamine synthetase may be an important regulatory control point in determining rates of ureogenesis in O. beta.

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