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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2008;22(1-4):69-78. doi: 10.1159/000149784. Epub 2008 Jul 25.

The role of SGK and CFTR in acute adaptation to seawater in Fundulus heteroclitus.

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The School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.


Killifish are euryhaline teleosts that adapt to increased salinity by up regulating CFTR mediated Cl(-) secretion in the gill and opercular membrane. Although many studies have examined the mechanisms responsible for long term (days) adaptation to increased salinity, little is known about the mechanisms responsible for acute (hours) adaptation. Thus, studies were conducted to test the hypotheses that the acute homeostatic regulation of NaCl balance in killifish involves a translocation of CFTR to the plasma membrane and that this effect is mediated by serum-and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase (SGK1). Cell surface biotinyation and Ussing chamber studies revealed that freshwater to seawater transfer rapidly (1 hour) increased CFTR Cl(-) secretion and the abundance of CFTR in the plasma membrane of opercular membranes. Q-RT-PCR and Western blot studies demonstrated that the increase in plasma membrane CFTR was preceded by an increase in SGK1 mRNA and protein levels. Seawater rapidly (1 hr) increases cortisol and plasma tonicity, potent stimuli of SGK1 expression, yet RU486, a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist, did not block the increase in SGK1 expression. Thus, in killifish SGK1 does not appear to be regulated by the glucocorticoid receptor. Since SGK1 has been shown to increase the plasma membrane abundance of CFTR in Xenopus oocytes, these observations suggest that acute adaptation (hours) to increased salinity in killifish involves translocation of CFTR from an intracellular pool to the plasma membrane, and that this effect may be mediated by SGK1.

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