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Am J Physiol. 1999 Aug;277(2):R508-16. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1999.277.2.R508.

Temperature-dependent expression of cytochrome-c oxidase in Antarctic and temperate fish.

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Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Biology I/Ecophysiology, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany.


Seasonal acclimation versus permanent adaptation to low temperatures leads to a differential response in the expression of cytochrome-c oxidase (CCO) in temperate and Antarctic eelpouts. Although eurythermal eelpout from the North Sea (Zoarces viviparus) displayed a cold-induced rise of CCO activity in white muscle, enzyme activity in the cold stenothermal Antarctic eelpout Pachycara brachycephalum failed to reflect such a compensatory increase. In Antarctic eelpout, CCO activity correlates with transcript levels of mitochondrial encoded subunits of CCO (CCO I and CCO II), whereas cold-acclimated eelpout from the North Sea show lower enzyme activities than expected on the basis of mitochondrial mRNA levels. In these animals, CCO expression at low temperatures may be limited either by nuclear CCO transcripts or by posttranscriptional processes. These may comprise translation of the subunits or assembly of the CCO holoenzyme. mRNA levels of CCO IV, one of the nuclear encoded subunits, increased strongly during cold acclimation, indicating that the expression of CCO is likely not message limited in cold-acclimated Z. viviparus. Our data suggest that seasonal cold acclimation of Z. viviparus results in a modification of the relationship between transcription and translation or posttranslational processes. In permanently cold-adapted P. brachycephalum, on the other hand, CCO expression shows similar characteristics as in the warm-acclimated confamilial species, e.g., low levels of enzyme activity correlated with low levels of mitochondrial message.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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