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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2009 Jul;153(3):231-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.02.035. Epub 2009 Mar 4.

Molecular and cellular regulation of water homeostasis in anuran amphibians by aquaporins.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Shizuoka University, Ohya 836, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan.


Aquaporins (AQPs) are water channel proteins important for transcellular water transport. Anuran AQP family consists of at least AQP0-AQP5, AQP7-AQP10, and two anuran-specific types, designated as AQPa1 and AQPa2. In Hyla japonica, AQP2 (AQP-h2K) and two forms of AQPa2 (AQP-h2 and AQP-h3) reside in the tight-junctioned epithelial cells of three major osmoregulatory organs, i.e. AQP-h2K in the kidney, AQP-h2 in the urinary bladder, and both AQP-h2 and AQP-h3 in the ventral pelvic skin. They show translocation from the cytoplasmic pool to the apical plasma membrane in response to arginine vasotocin (AVT), thereby regulating water transport across the apical membrane. Tissue distribution of AQPa2 in five anuran species, from aquatic to arboreal habitats, suggests that AQP-h2 is a urinary bladder-type AQP, while AQP-h3 is a ventral pelvic skin-type AQP. Further, AQP-h2K seems to be specific to the kidney. On the other hand, Hyla AQP3 (AQPh3BL)is located in the basolateral plasma membrane of the tight epithelial cells, irrespective of AVT stimulation. These findings suggest that anuran AVT-dependent osmoregulatory organs utilize AQP3 at the exit site of the transepithelial water transport, whereas at the entry site they basically adopt different AQPs as translocatable water channels: h2-like AQPa2 in the urinary bladder, h3-like AQPa2 in the pelvic skin, andAQP2 in the kidney. Anuran AQP3 also shows an extensive distribution over the integument, and is located along the basolateral plasma membrane of principal cells of the epidermis. It is possible that anuran AQP3might protect the epidermis against cutaneous water loss by supplying water and glycerol. In addition,immunohistochemical studies suggest that anuran AQP3 and AQP5 might be involved in the isoosmotic fluid secretion from the mucous glands and Xenopus small granular glands, possibly aiding maintenance of the moist skin, cutaneous gas exchange, and thermoregulation. Intriguingly, genomic and molecular phylogenetic analyses indicate the possibility that anuran AQP2, AQPa2, and AQP5 might have arisen through local gene duplication of a single ancestral AQP gene.

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