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Variation in branchial expression among insulin-like growth-factor binding proteins (igfbps) during Atlantic salmon smoltification and seawater exposure

Journal article
Authors J. P. Breves
C. K. Fujimoto
S. K. Phipps-Costin
Ingibjörg Einarsdottir
Björn Thrandur Björnsson
S. D. McCormick
Published in BMC Physiology
Volume 17
Issue 1
ISSN 1472-6793
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords Atlantic salmon, Binding proteins, Gill, Growth hormone, Insulin-like growth-factor, Liver, Osmoregulation, Salinity, Smoltification
Subject categories Marine ecology


Background: In preparation for migration from freshwater to marine habitats, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) undergo smoltification, a transformation that includes the acquisition of hyposmoregulatory capacity. The growth hormone (Gh)/insulin-like growth-factor (Igf) axis promotes the development of branchial ionoregulatory functions that underlie ion secretion. Igfs interact with a suite of Igf binding proteins (Igfbps) that modulate hormone activity. In Atlantic salmon smolts, igfbp4,-5a,-5b1,-5b2,-6b1 and-6b2 transcripts are highly expressed in gill. We measured mRNA levels of branchial and hepatic igfbps during smoltification (March, April, and May), desmoltification (July) and following seawater (SW) exposure in March and May. We also characterized parallel changes in a broad suite of osmoregulatory (branchial Na+/K+-ATPase (Nka) activity, Na + /K + /2Cl - cotransporter 1 (nkcc1) and cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator 1 (cftr1) transcription) and endocrine (plasma Gh and Igf1) parameters. Results: Indicative of smoltification, we observed increased branchial Nka activity, nkcc1 and cftr1 transcription in May. Branchial igfbp6b1 and -6b2 expression increased coincidentally with smoltification. Following a SW challenge in March, igfbp6b1 showed increased expression while igfbp6b2 exhibited diminished expression. igfbp5a,-5b1 and-5b2 mRNA levels did not change during smolting, but each had lower levels following a SW exposure in March. Conclusions: Salmonids express an especially large suite of igfbps. Our data suggest that dynamic expression of particular igfbps accompanies smoltification and SW challenges; thus, transcriptional control of igfbps may provide a mechanism for the local modulation of Igf activity in salmon gill. © 2017 The Author(s).

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