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1.  A trehalose 6-phosphate synthase gene of the hemocytes of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus: cloning, the expression, its enzyme activity and relationship to hemolymph trehalose levels 
Saline Systems  2008;4:18.
Trehalose in ectoderms functions in energy metabolism and protection in extreme environmental conditions. We structurally characterized trehalose 6-phosphate synthase (TPS) from hemocytes of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. C. sapidus Hemo TPS (CasHemoTPS), like insect TPS, encodes both TPS and trehalose phosphate phosphatase domains. Trehalose seems to be a major sugar, as it shows higher levels than does glucose in hemocytes and hemolymph. Increases in HemoTPS expression, TPS enzyme activity in hemocytes, and hemolymph trehalose levels were determined 24 h after lipopolysaccharide challenge, suggesting that both TPS and TPP domains of CasHemoTPS are active and functional. The TPS gene has a wide tissue distribution in C. sapidus, suggesting multiple biosynthetic sites. A correlation between TPS activity in hemocytes and hemolymph trehalose levels was found during the molt cycle. The current study provides the first evidence of presence of trehalose in hemocytes and TPS in tissues of C. sapidus and implicates its functional role in energy metabolism and physiological adaptation.
PMCID: PMC2615023  PMID: 19077285
2.  Transcriptomics of coping strategies in free-swimming Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Copepoda) larvae responding to abiotic stress 
Molecular Ecology  2012;21(24):6000-6014.
The salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis is a marine ectoparasite of wild and farmed salmon in the Northern Hemisphere. Infections of farmed salmon are of economic and ecological concern. Nauplius and copepodid salmon lice larvae are free-swimming and disperse in the water column until they encounter a host. In this study, we characterized the sublethal stress responses of L. salmonis copepodid larvae by applying a 38K oligonucleotide microarray to profile transcriptomes following 24 h exposures to suboptimal salinity (30–10 parts per thousand (‰)) or temperature (16–4 °C) environments. Hyposalinity exposure resulted in large-scale gene expression changes relative to those elicited by a thermal gradient. Subsequently, transcriptome responses to a more finely resolved salinity gradient between 30 ‰ and 25 ‰ were profiled. Minimal changes occurred at 29 ‰ or 28 ‰, a threshold of response was identified at 27 ‰, and the largest response was at 25 ‰. Differentially expressed genes were clustered by pattern of expression, and clusters were characterized by functional enrichment analysis. Results indicate larval copepods adopt two distinct coping strategies in response to short-term hyposaline stress: a primary response using molecular chaperones and catabolic processes at 27 ‰; and a secondary response up-regulating ion pumps, transporters, a different suite of chaperones and apoptosis-related transcripts at 26 ‰ and 25 ‰. The results further our understanding of the tolerances of L. salmonis copepodids to salinity and temperature gradients and may assist in the development of salmon louse management strategies.
PMCID: PMC3557717  PMID: 23094868
abiotic stress; copepod; ecological genomics; salinity; sea lice; transcriptomics
3.  New Functions of Arthropod Bursicon: Inducing Deposition and Thickening of New Cuticle and Hemocyte Granulation in the Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46299.
Arthropod growth requires molt-associated changes in softness and stiffness of the cuticle that protects from desiccation, infection and injury. Cuticle hardening in insects depends on the blood-borne hormone, bursicon (Burs), although it has never been determined in hemolymph. Whilst also having Burs, decapod crustaceans reiterate molting many more times during their longer life span and are encased in a calcified exoskeleton, which after molting undergoes similar initial cuticle hardening processes as in insects. We investigated the role of homologous crustacean Burs in cuticular changes and growth in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. We found dramatic increases in size and number of Burs cells during development in paired thoracic ganglion complex (TGC) neurons with pericardial organs (POs) as neurohemal release sites. A skewed expression of Burs β/Burs α mRNA in TGC corresponds to protein contents of identified Burs β homodimer and Burs heterodimer in POs. In hemolymph, Burs is consistently present at ∼21 pM throughout the molt cycle, showing a peak of ∼89 pM at ecdysis. Since initial cuticle hardness determines the degree of molt-associated somatic increment (MSI), we applied recombinant Burs in vitro to cuticle explants of late premolt or early ecdysis. Burs stimulates cuticle thickening and granulation of hemocytes. These findings demonstrate novel cuticle-associated functions of Burs during molting, while the unambiguous and constant presence of Burs in cells and hemolymph throughout the molt cycle and life stages may implicate further functions of its homo- and heterodimer hormone isoforms in immunoprotective defense systems of arthropods.
PMCID: PMC3460823  PMID: 23029467
4.  Expression and Localization of Aquaporin 1a in the Sea-Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) during Ontogeny 
The successful establishment of a species in a given habitat depends on the ability of each of its developing stages to adapt to the environment. In order to understand this process we have studied the adaptation of a euryhaline fish, the sea-bass Dicentrarchus labrax, to various salinities during its ontogeny. The expression and localization of Aquaporin 1a (AQP1a) mRNA and protein were determined in different osmoregulatory tissues. In larvae, the sites of AQP1a expression are variable and they shift according to age, implying functional changes. In juveniles after metamorphosis (D32–D48 post-hatch, 15–25 mm) and in pre-adults, an increase in AQP1a transcript abundance was noted in the digestive tract, and the AQP1a location was observed in the intestine. In juveniles (D87–D100 post-hatch, 38–48 mm), the transcript levels of AQP1a in the digestive tract and in the kidney were higher in sea water (SW) than at lower salinity. These observations, in agreement with existing models, suggest that in SW-acclimated fish, the imbibed water is absorbed via AQP1a through the digestive tract, particularly the intestine and the rectum. In addition, AQP1a may play a role in water reabsorption in the kidney. These mechanisms compensate dehydration in SW, and they contribute to the adaptation of juveniles to salinity changes during sea-lagoon migrations. These results contribute to the interpretation of the adaptation of populations to habitats where salinity varies.
PMCID: PMC3137954  PMID: 21808622
AQP1a; fish larvae; osmoregulation; intestine; water channel
5.  Variation in spatial and temporal incidence of the crustacean pathogen Hematodinium perezi in environmental samples from Atlantic Coastal Bays 
Aquatic Biosystems  2013;9:11.
Hematodinium perezi, a parasitic dinoflagellate, infects and kills blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. The parasite proliferates within host hemolymph and tissues, and also produces free-swimming biflagellated dinospores that emerge from infected crabs. Infections in C. sapidus recur annually, and it is not known if biotic or environmental reservoirs contribute to reinfection and outbreaks. To address this data gap, a quantitative PCR assay based on the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region of H. perezi rRNA genes was developed to asses the temporal and spatial incidence of the parasite in Delaware and Maryland coastal bays.
A previously-used PCR assay for H. perezi, based on the small subunit rRNA gene sequence, was found to lack adequate species specificity to discriminate non-Hematodinium sp. dinoflagellate species in environmental samples. A new ITS2-targeted assay was developed and validated to detect H. perezi DNA in sediment and water samples using E. coli carrying the H. perezi rDNA genes. Application of the method to environmental samples identified potential hotspots in sediment in Indian River Inlet, DE and Chincoteague Bay, MD and VA. H. perezi DNA was not detected in co-occurring shrimp or snails, even during an outbreak of the parasite in C. sapidus.
H. perezi is present in water and sediment samples in Maryland and Delaware coastal bays from April through November with a wide spatial and temporal variability in incidence. Sampling sites with high levels of H. perezi DNA in both bays share characteristics of silty, organic sediments and low tidal currents. The environmental detection of H. perezi in spring, ahead of peak prevalence in crabs, points to gaps in our understanding of the parasite’s life history prior to infection in crabs as well as the mode of environmental transmission. To better understand the H. perezi life cycle will require further monitoring of the parasite in habitats as well as hosts. Improved understanding of potential environmental transmission to crabs will facilitate the development of disease forecasting.
PMCID: PMC3651331  PMID: 23641869
Blue crab; Hematodinium; Parasite; Disease reservoir; Fishery
6.  Ecdysteroids Regulate the Levels of Molt-Inhibiting Hormone (MIH) Expression in the Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0117278.
Arthropod molt is coordinated through the interplay between ecdysteroids and neuropeptide hormones. In crustaceans, changes in the activity of Y-organs during the molt cycle have been regulated by molt-inhibiting hormone (MIH) and crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (CHH). Little has been known of the mode of direct effects of ecdysteroids on the levels of MIH and CHH in the eyestalk ganglia during the molt cycle. This study focused on a putative feedback of ecdysteroids on the expression levels of MIH transcripts using in vitro incubation study with ecdysteroids and in vivo RNAi in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. Our results show a specific expression of ecdysone receptor (EcR) in which EcR1 is the major isoform in eyestalk ganglia. The initial elevation of MIH expression at the early premolt stages is replicated by in vitro incubations of eyestalk ganglia with ecdysteroids that mimic the intrinsic conditions of D0 stage: the concentration (75 ng/ml) and composition (ponasterone A and 20-hydroxyecdysone at a 3:1 (w:w) ratio). Additionally, multiple injections of EcR1-dsRNA reduce MIH expression by 67%, compared to the controls. Our data provide evidence on a putative feedback mechanism of hormonal regulation during molting cycle, specifically how the molt cycle is repeated during the life cycle of crustaceans. The elevated concentrations of ecdysteroids at early premolt stage may act positively on the levels of MIH expression in the eyestalk ganglia. Subsequently, the increased MIH titers in the hemolymph at postmolt would inhibit the synthesis and release of ecdysteroids by Y-organs, resulting in re-setting the subsequent molt cycle.
PMCID: PMC4388526  PMID: 25849453
7.  Temperature tolerance of different larval stages of the spider crab Hyas araneus exposed to elevated seawater PCO2 
Frontiers in Zoology  2014;11:87.
Exposure to elevated seawater PCO2 limits the thermal tolerance of crustaceans but the underlying mechanisms have not been comprehensively explored. Larval stages of crustaceans are even more sensitive to environmental hypercapnia and possess narrower thermal windows than adults.
In a mechanistic approach, we analysed the impact of high seawater CO2 on parameters at different levels of biological organization, from the molecular to the whole animal level. At the whole animal level we measured oxygen consumption, heart rate and activity during acute warming in zoea and megalopa larvae of the spider crab Hyas araneus exposed to different levels of seawater PCO2. Furthermore, the expression of genes responsible for acid–base regulation and mitochondrial energy metabolism, and cellular responses to thermal stress (e.g. the heat shock response) was analysed before and after larvae were heat shocked by rapidly raising the seawater temperature from 10°C rearing temperature to 20°C. Zoea larvae showed a high heat tolerance, which decreased at elevated seawater PCO2, while the already low heat tolerance of megalopa larvae was not limited further by hypercapnic exposure. There was a combined effect of elevated seawater CO2 and heat shock in zoea larvae causing elevated transcript levels of heat shock proteins. In all three larval stages, hypercapnic exposure elicited an up-regulation of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, which was, however, not accompanied by increased energetic demands.
The combined effect of seawater CO2 and heat shock on the gene expression of heat shock proteins reflects the downward shift in thermal limits seen on the whole animal level and indicates an associated capacity to elicit passive thermal tolerance. The up-regulation of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation might compensate for enzyme activities being lowered through bicarbonate inhibition and maintain larval standard metabolic rates at high seawater CO2 levels. The present study underlines the necessity to align transcriptomic data with physiological responses when addressing mechanisms affected by an interaction of elevated seawater PCO2 and temperature extremes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12983-014-0087-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4339425  PMID: 25717341
Hyas araneus; Larvae; Ocean acidification; Climate change; Thermal tolerance; Gene expression
8.  De novo assembly of a transcriptome from juvenile blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) following exposure to surrogate Macondo crude oil 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):521.
The blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, is economically and ecologically important in western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal estuaries. In 2010 blue crabs in the northern Gulf of Mexico were exposed to crude oil and chemical dispersants from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. To characterize the blue crab transcriptome and identify genes that could be regulated in response to oil exposure we sequenced transcriptomes from hepatopancreas and gill tissues of juvenile blue crabs after exposing them to a water-accommodated fraction of surrogate Macondo crude oil in the laboratory and compared them to transcriptomes from an unexposed control group.
Illumina sequencing provided 42.5 million paired-end sequencing reads for the control group and 44.9 million paired-end reads for the treatment group. From these, 73,473 transcripts and 52,663 genes were assembled. Comparison of control and treatment transcriptomes revealed about 100 genes from each tissue type that were differentially expressed. However, a much larger number of transcripts, approximately 2000 from each tissue type, were differentially expressed. Several examples of alternatively spliced transcripts were verified by qPCR, some of which showed significantly different expression patterns. The combined transcriptome from all tissues and individuals was annotated to assign putative gene products to both major gene ontology categories as well as specific roles in responses to cold and heat, metabolism of xenobiotic compounds, defence, hypoxia, osmoregulation and ecdysis. Among the annotations for upregulated and alternatively-spliced genes were candidates for the metabolism of oil-derived compounds.
Previously, few genomic resources were available for blue crabs or related brachyuran crabs. The transcriptome sequences reported here represent a major new resource for research on the biology of blue crabs. These sequences can be used for studies of differential gene expression or as a source of genetic markers. Genes identified and annotated in this study include candidates for responses of the blue crab to xenobiotic compounds, which could serve as biomarkers for oil exposure. Changes in gene expression also suggest other physiological changes that may occur as the result of exposure to oil.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1739-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4499174  PMID: 26162747
9.  Over-expression of a poor prognostic marker in prostate cancer: AQP5 promotes cells growth and local invasion 
The aquaporins (AQPs), water channel proteins, are known playing a major role in transcellular and transepithelial water movement; they also exhibit several properties related to tumor development. The aim of the present study is to elucidate whether the expression of AQP5 is a strong prognostic biomarker for prostate cancer, and the potential role in the progression of prostate cancer cells.
AQP5 expression was measured in 60 prostate cancer tissues and cells (both PC-3 and LNCaP) by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence assay. AQP5 gene amplification was detected with FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization). Proliferation and migration of cells and AQP5 siRNA cells were detected with MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) and Boyden chambers. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) were detected by imFISH staining (CEP8-CD45-DAPI) assay.
The results showed that in 60 tumor specimens, 19 (31.7%) patients showed high level of AQP5 expression, while 30 (50.0%) showed a moderate, intermediate level of staining, and 11 (18.3%) showed an absence of AQP5 staining, respectively. High-expression of AQP5 protein frequently accompanied gene amplification detection with FISH. The AQP5 over-expression was also associated with TNM stage (P = 0.042), and lymph node metastasis (P = 0.001). The relationships between age or tumor size with the expression of AQP5 were not significant (P > 0.05). A positive correlation between the number of CTCs and AQP5 expression (P < 0.05) was demonstrated. In addition, patients who were negative for AQP5 had superior cumulative survival rate than those who were positive for it. Over-expression of AQP5 protein was also found in prostate cancer cells and cell proliferation and migration were significantly attenuated by AQP5-siRNA.
We concluded that AQP5 in prostate cancer was an independent prognostic indicator. AQP5 over-expression was likely to play a role in cell growth and metastasis. These conclusions suggest that AQP5 may be an effective therapeutic target for prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4247740  PMID: 25217331
Prostate cancer; AQP5; Prognosis; FISH; CTC
10.  Structural and functional divergence of two fish aquaporin-1 water channels following teleost-specific gene duplication 
Teleost radiation in the oceans required specific physiological adaptations in eggs and early embryos to survive in the hyper-osmotic seawater. Investigating the evolution of aquaporins (AQPs) in these vertebrates should help to elucidate how mechanisms for water homeostasis evolved. The marine teleost gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) has a mammalian aquaporin-1 (AQP1)-related channel, termed AQP1o, with a specialized physiological role in mediating egg hydration. However, teleosts have an additional AQP isoform structurally more similar to AQP1, though its relationship with AQP1o is unclear.
By using phylogenetic and genomic analyses we show here that teleosts, unlike tetrapods, have two closely linked AQP1 paralogous genes, termed aqp1a and aqp1b (formerly AQP1o). In marine teleosts that produce hydrated eggs, aqp1b is highly expressed in the ovary, whereas in freshwater species that produce non-hydrated eggs, aqp1b has a completely different expression pattern or is not found in the genome. Both Aqp1a and Aqp1b are functional water-selective channels when expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. However, expression of chimeric and mutated proteins in oocytes revealed that the sea bream Aqp1b C-terminus, unlike that of Aqp1a, contains specific residues involved in the control of Aqp1b intracellular trafficking through phosphorylation-independent and -dependent mechanisms.
We propose that 1) Aqp1a and Aqp1b are encoded by distinct genes that probably originated specifically in the teleost lineage by duplication of a common ancestor soon after divergence from tetrapods, 2) Aqp1b possibly represents a neofunctionalized AQP adapted to oocytes of marine and catadromous teleosts, thereby contributing to a water reservoir in eggs and early embryos that increases their survival in the ocean, and 3) Aqp1b independently acquired regulatory domains in the cytoplasmatic C-terminal tail for the specific control of Aqp1b expression in the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC2564943  PMID: 18811940
The Journal of Cell Biology  1974;61(2):301-315.
Mitochondria isolated from the hepatopancreas of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus show up to 12-fold stimulation of respiration on addition of Ca2+, which is accompanied by Ca2+ accumulation (Ca2+:site = 1.9) and H+ ejection (H+:Ca2+ = 0.85). Sr2+ and Mn2+ are also accumulated; Mg2+ is not. A strongly hypertonic medium (383 mosM), Mg2+, and phosphate are required for maximal Ca2+ uptake. Ca2+ uptake takes precedence over oxidative phosphorylation of ADP for respiratory energy. Once Ca2+ is accumulated by the crab mitochondria, it is stable and only very slowly released, even by uncoupling agents. ATP hydrolysis also supports Ca2+ uptake. Respiration-inhibited crab hepatopancreas mitochondria show both high-affinity and low-affinity Ca2+-binding sites, which are inactive in the presence of uncoupling agents. Crab hepatopancreas mitochondria have an enormous capacity for accumulation of Ca2+, up to 5,500 ng-atoms Ca2+ per mg protein, with an equivalent amount of phosphate. Freshly isolated mitochondria contain very large amounts of Ca2+, Mg2+, phosphate, K+, and Na+; their high Ca2+ content is a reflection of the vary large amount of extra-mitochondrial Ca2+ in the whole tissue. Electron microscopy of crab mitochondria loaded with Ca2+ and phosphate showed large electron-dense deposits, presumably of precipitated calcium phosphate. They consisted of bundles of needle-like crystals, whereas Ca2+-loaded rat liver mitochondria show only amorphous deposits of calcium phosphate under similar conditions. The very pronounced capacity of crab hepatopancreas mitochondria for transport of Ca2+ appears to be adapted to a role in the storage and release of Ca2+ during the molting cycle of this crustacean.
PMCID: PMC2109283  PMID: 4827906
12.  Uptake and survival of enteric viruses in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. 
Uptake of poliovirus 1 by the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, was measured to assess the likelihood of contamination by human enteric viruses. Virus was found in all parts of the crab within 2 h after the crab was placed in contaminated artificial seawater. The highest concentrations of virus were found in the hemolymph and digestive tract, but the meat also contained virus. The concentration of virus in the crabs was generally less than in the surrounding water. Changes in salinity did not substantially affect the rate of accumulation. An increase in temperature from 15 to 25 degrees C increased the rates of both uptake and removal. Poliovirus survived up to 6 days in crabs at a temperature of 15 degrees C and a salinity of 10 g/kg. When contaminated crabs were boiled, 99.9% of poliovirus 1, simian rotavirus SA11, and a natural isolate of echovirus 1 were inactivated within 8 min. These data demonstrate that viruses in crabs should not pose a serious health hazard if recommended cooking procedures are used.
PMCID: PMC243665  PMID: 6261683
13.  Turbidity interferes with foraging success of visual but not chemosensory predators 
PeerJ  2015;3:e1212.
Predation can significantly affect prey populations and communities, but predator effects can be attenuated when abiotic conditions interfere with foraging activities. In estuarine communities, turbidity can affect species richness and abundance and is changing in many areas because of coastal development. Many fish species are less efficient foragers in turbid waters, and previous research revealed that in elevated turbidity, fish are less abundant whereas crabs and shrimp are more abundant. We hypothesized that turbidity altered predatory interactions in estuaries by interfering with visually-foraging predators and prey but not with organisms relying on chemoreception. We measured the effects of turbidity on the predation rates of two model predators: a visual predator (pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides) and a chemosensory predator (blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus) in clear and turbid water (0 and ∼100 nephelometric turbidity units). Feeding assays were conducted with two prey items, mud crabs (Panopeus spp.) that rely heavily on chemoreception to detect predators, and brown shrimp (Farfantepenaus aztecus) that use both chemical and visual cues for predator detection. Because turbidity reduced pinfish foraging on both mud crabs and shrimp, the changes in predation rates are likely driven by turbidity attenuating fish foraging ability and not by affecting prey vulnerability to fish consumers. Blue crab foraging was unaffected by turbidity, and blue crabs were able to successfully consume nearly all mud crab and shrimp prey. Turbidity can influence predator–prey interactions by reducing the feeding efficiency of visual predators, providing a competitive advantage to chemosensory predators, and altering top-down control in food webs.
PMCID: PMC4579029  PMID: 26401444
Blue crabs; Mud crabs; Pin fish; Predator–prey interactions; Brown shrimp
14.  Aquaporin 1a Expression in Gill, Intestine, and Kidney of the Euryhaline Silver Sea Bream 
This study aimed to investigate the effects of chronic salinity acclimation, abrupt salinity transfer, and cortisol administration on aquaporin 1 (AQP1) expression in gill, intestine, and kidney of silver sea bream (Sparus sarba). An AQP1a cDNA was cloned and found to share 83–96% amino acid sequence identity with AQP1 genes from several fish species. Tissue distribution studies of AQP1a mRNA demonstrated that it was expressed in gill, liver, intestine, rectum, kidney, heart, urinary bladder, and whole blood. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis was used to measure AQP1a transcript abundance in sea bream that were acclimated to salinity conditions of 0, 6, 12, 33, 50, and 70 ppt for 1 month. The abundance of gill AQP1a transcript was highest in sea bream acclimated to 0 ppt whereas no differences were found among 0–50 ppt groups. For intestine, the highest AQP1a transcript amounts were found in sea bream acclimated to 12 and 70 ppt whereas the transcript abundance of kidney AQP1a was found to be unchanged amongst the different salinity groups. To investigate the effects of acute salinity alterations on AQP1a expression, sea bream were abruptly transferred from 33 to 6 ppt. For intestine AQP1a levels were altered at different times, post transfer, but remained unchanged in gill and kidney. To study the effects of cortisol on AQP1a expression, sea bream were administered a single dose of cortisol followed by a 3-day acclimation to either 33 or 6 ppt. The findings from this experiment demonstrated that cortisol administration resulted in alterations of AQP1a transcript in gill and intestine but not in kidney.
PMCID: PMC3143732  PMID: 21811469
fish; aquaporin; gene; gill; intestine; kidney; salinity; cortisol
15.  Antibody to Aquaporin 4 in the Diagnosis of Neuromyelitis Optica 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(4):e133.
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) of putative autoimmune aetiology. Early discrimination between multiple sclerosis (MS) and NMO is important, as optimum treatment for both diseases may differ considerably. Recently, using indirect immunofluorescence analysis, a new serum autoantibody (NMO-IgG) has been detected in NMO patients. The binding sites of this autoantibody were reported to colocalize with aquaporin 4 (AQP4) water channels. Thus we hypothesized that AQP4 antibodies in fact characterize NMO patients.
Methods and Findings
Based on these observations we cloned human water channel AQP4, expressed the protein in a eukaryotic transcription/translation system, and employed the recombinant AQP4 to establish a new radioimmunoprecipitation assay (RIPA). Indeed, application of this RIPA showed that antibodies against AQP4 exist in the majority of patients with NMO (n = 37; 21 positive) as well as in patients with isolated longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (n = 6; six positive), corresponding to a sensitivity of 62.8% and a specificity of 98.3%. By contrast, AQP4 antibodies were virtually absent in 291 other participants, which included patients with MS (n = 144; four positive), patients with other inflammatory and noninflammatory neurological diseases (n = 73; one positive), patients with systemic autoimmune diseases (n = 45; 0 positive), and healthy participants (n = 29; 0 positive).
In the largest series reported so far to our knowledge, we quantified AQP4 antibodies in patients with NMO versus various other diseases, and showed that the aquaporin 4 water channel is a target antigen in a majority of patients with NMO. The newly developed assay represents a highly specific, observer-independent, and easily reproducible detection method facilitating clinically relevant discrimination between NMO, MS, and other inflammatory diseases.
A newly developed method to detect antibodies to the aquaporin 4 water channel can help discriminate between neuromyelitis optica, multiple sclerosis, and other inflammatory diseases.
Editors' Summary
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO or Devic syndrome) is a rare disease in which the immune system destroys the myelin (fatty material that insulates nerve fibers so that the body and the brain can communicate using electrical messages) in the optic nerve and spinal cord. Myelin destruction (demyelination) in these parts of the central nervous system (CNS) causes pain and swelling (inflammation) of the optic nerve (optic neuritis) and spinal cord (myelitis). The resultant disruption of communication along these nerves means that patients with NMO experience temporary or permanent blindness in one or both eyes that is preceded or followed by limb weakness or paralysis and loss of bladder and bowel control. These two sets of symptoms can occur many months apart and may happen once during a person's lifetime or recur at intervals. There is no cure for NMO, but corticosteroids or plasmapheresis reduce inflammation during acute attacks and, because NMO is an autoimmune disease (one in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues instead of foreign organisms), long-term immunosuppression may prevent further attacks.
Why Was This Study Done?
There are many inflammatory/demyelinating diseases of the CNS with clinical symptoms similar to those of NMO. It is particularly hard to distinguish between NMO and multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that involves widespread demyelination. Neurologists need to make a correct diagnosis before starting any treatment and usually use clinical examination and magnetic resonance imaging (to detect sites of inflammation) to help them in this task. Recently, however, a biomarker for NMO was identified. Many patients with NMO make autoantibodies (proteins that recognize a component of a person's own tissues) called NMO-IgGs. These recognize aquaporin 4 (AQP4), a protein that allows water to move through cell membranes. It is not known how often patients with NMO or other demyelinating diseases make antibodies to AQP4, so it is unclear whether testing for these antibodies would help in the diagnosis of NMO. In this study, the researchers have developed a new assay for antibodies to AQP4 and then quantified the antibodies in patients with NMO and other demyelinating diseases.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers made radioactively labeled AQP4 in a test tube, then incubated samples of this with serum (the liquid portion of blood), added small beads coated with protein A (a bacterial protein that binds to antibodies) and allowed the beads to settle. The amount of radioactivity attached to the beads indicates the amount of antibody to AQP4 in the original serum. The researchers used this radioimmunoprecipitation assay to measure antibodies to AQP4 in sera from 37 patients with NMO and from six with another neurological condition, longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM), which is characterized by large demyelinated lesions across the width of the spinal cord but no optic neuritis; these patients often develop NMO. They also measured antibodies to AQP4 in the sera of nearly 300 other people including patients with multiple sclerosis, other neurological conditions, various autoimmune diseases, and healthy individuals. Nearly two-thirds of the patients with NMO and all those with LETM made antibodies against AQP4; very few of the other study participants made these antibodies. In particular, only four of the 144 patients with multiple sclerosis made AQP4 antibodies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that testing for antibodies to AQP4 could help neurologists distinguish between NMO and multiple sclerosis and between NMO and other demyelinating diseases of the CNS. In addition, the new radioimmunoprecipitation assay provides a standardized, high-throughput way to quantitatively test for these antibodies, whereas the indirect immune fluorescence assay for measurement of unspecific NMO-IgG is observer-dependent and nonquantitative. Although these findings need to be confirmed in more patients and the assay's reliability demonstrated in different settings, the measurement of antibodies to AQP4 by radioimmunoprecipitation may become a standard part of the differential diagnosis of NMO. Additional research will determine whether AQP4 is the only protein targeted by autoantibodies in NMO and whether this targeting is a critical part of the disease process.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has information for patients who have neuromyelitis optica, transverse myelitis, and multiple sclerosis
The Transverse Myelitis Association offers information and useful links for patients and their carers about transverse myelitis and neuromyelitis optica (in several languages, including English and Spanish)
Mayo Clinic information for patients on Devic's syndrome
Medline Plus encyclopedia pages discuss autoimmune disorders (in English and Spanish)
A brief overview of aquaporins is available from the University of Miami
The American MS Society has information on MS
PMCID: PMC1852124  PMID: 17439296
16.  Genome-Wide Identification and Expression Analyses of Aquaporin Gene Family during Development and Abiotic Stress in Banana 
Aquaporins (AQPs) function to selectively control the flow of water and other small molecules through biological membranes, playing crucial roles in various biological processes. However, little information is available on the AQP gene family in bananas. In this study, we identified 47 banana AQP genes based on the banana genome sequence. Evolutionary analysis of AQPs from banana, Arabidopsis, poplar, and rice indicated that banana AQPs (MaAQPs) were clustered into four subfamilies. Conserved motif analysis showed that all banana AQPs contained the typical AQP-like or major intrinsic protein (MIP) domain. Gene structure analysis suggested the majority of MaAQPs had two to four introns with a highly specific number and length for each subfamily. Expression analysis of MaAQP genes during fruit development and postharvest ripening showed that some MaAQP genes exhibited high expression levels during these stages, indicating the involvement of MaAQP genes in banana fruit development and ripening. Additionally, some MaAQP genes showed strong induction after stress treatment and therefore, may represent potential candidates for improving banana resistance to abiotic stress. Taken together, this study identified some excellent tissue-specific, fruit development- and ripening-dependent, and abiotic stress-responsive candidate MaAQP genes, which could lay a solid foundation for genetic improvement of banana cultivars.
PMCID: PMC4581322  PMID: 26307965
Aquaporin (AQP); abiotic stress; banana; development; expression analysis; fruit postharvest ripening
17.  Functional Expression of Aquaporins in Embryonic, Postnatal, and Adult Mouse Lenses 
Aquaporin 0 (AQP0) and AQP1 are expressed in the lens, each in a different cell type, and their functional roles are not thoroughly understood. Our previous study showed that these two AQPs function as water transporters. In order to further understand the functional significance of these two different aquaporins in the lens, we investigated their initiation and continued expression. AQP0 transcript and protein were first detected at embryonic stage (E) 11.25 in the differentiating primary fiber cells of the developing lens; its synthesis continued through the adult stage in the secondary fiber cells. Low levels of AQP1 expression were first seen in lens anterior epithelial cells at E17.5; following postnatal day (P) 6.5, the expression gradually progressed towards the equatorial epithelial cells. In the postnatal lens, the increase in membrane water permeability of epithelial cells and lens transparency coincides with the increase in AQP1 expression. AQP1 expression reaches its peak at P30 and continues through the adult stage both in the anterior and equatorial epithelial cells. The enhancement in AQP1 expression concomitant with the increase in the size of the lens suggests the progression in the establishment of the lens microcirculatory system. In vitro and in vivo studies show that both aquaporins share at least one important function, which is water transport in the lens microcirculatory system. However, the temporal expression of these two AQPs suggests an apparently unique role/s in lens development and transparency. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the expression patterns of AQP0 and AQP1 during lens development and differentiation and their relation to lens transparency.
PMCID: PMC2534140  PMID: 17377981
aquaporins; AQP0; AQP1; MIP26; membrane permeability; cataract; cell-to-cell adhesion
18.  Aquaporin 4 is a Ubiquitously Expressed Isoform in the Dogfish (Squalus acanthias) Shark 
The dogfish ortholog of aquaporin 4 (AQP4) was amplified from cDNA using degenerate PCR followed by cloning and sequencing. The complete coding region was then obtained using 5′ and 3′ RACE techniques. Alignment of the sequence with AQP4 amino acid sequences from other species showed that dogfish AQP4 has high levels (up to 65.3%) of homology with higher vertebrate sequences but lower levels of homology to Agnathan (38.2%) or teleost (57.5%) fish sequences. Northern blotting indicated that the dogfish mRNA was approximately 3.2 kb and was highly expressed in the rectal gland (a shark fluid secretory organ). Semi-quantitative PCR further indicates that AQP4 is ubiquitous, being expressed in all tissues measured but at low levels in certain tissues, where the level in liver > gill >  intestine. Manipulation of the external environmental salinity of groups of dogfish showed that when fish were acclimated in stages to 120% seawater (SW) or 75% SW, there was no change in AQP4 mRNA expression in either rectal gland, kidney, or esophagus/cardiac stomach. Whereas quantitative PCR experiments using the RNA samples from the same experiment, showed a significant 63.1% lower abundance of gill AQP4 mRNA expression in 120% SW-acclimated dogfish. The function of dogfish AQP4 was also determined by measuring the effect of the AQP4 expression in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Dogfish AQP4 expressing-oocytes, exhibited significantly increased osmotic water permeability (Pf) compared to controls, and this was invariant with pH. Permeability was not significantly reduced by treatment of oocytes with mercury chloride, as is also the case with AQP4 in other species. Similarly AQP4 expressing-oocytes did not exhibit enhanced urea or glycerol permeability, which is also consistent with the water-selective property of AQP4 in other species.
PMCID: PMC3254168  PMID: 22291652
aquaporin 4; shark; dogfish; kidney; liver; rectal gland; gill; cardiac stomach
19.  Aquaporins Are Critical for Provision of Water during Lactation and Intrauterine Progeny Hydration to Maintain Tsetse Fly Reproductive Success 
Tsetse flies undergo drastic fluctuations in their water content throughout their adult life history due to events such as blood feeding, dehydration and lactation, an essential feature of the viviparous reproductive biology of tsetse. Aquaporins (AQPs) are transmembrane proteins that allow water and other solutes to permeate through cellular membranes. Here we identify tsetse aquaporin (AQP) genes, examine their expression patterns under different physiological conditions (blood feeding, lactation and stress response) and perform functional analysis of three specific genes utilizing RNA interference (RNAi) gene silencing. Ten putative aquaporins were identified in the Glossina morsitans morsitans (Gmm) genome, two more than has been previously documented in any other insect. All organs, tissues, and body parts examined had distinct AQP expression patterns. Two AQP genes, gmmdripa and gmmdripb ( = gmmaqp1a and gmmaqp1b) are highly expressed in the milk gland/fat body tissues. The whole-body transcript levels of these two genes vary over the course of pregnancy. A set of three AQPs (gmmaqp5, gmmaqp2a, and gmmaqp4b) are expressed highly in the Malpighian tubules. Knockdown of gmmdripa and gmmdripb reduced the efficiency of water loss following a blood meal, increased dehydration tolerance and reduced heat tolerance of adult females. Knockdown of gmmdripa extended pregnancy length, and gmmdripb knockdown resulted in extended pregnancy duration and reduced progeny production. We found that knockdown of AQPs increased tsetse milk osmolality and reduced the water content in developing larva. Combined knockdown of gmmdripa, gmmdripb and gmmaqp5 extended pregnancy by 4–6 d, reduced pupal production by nearly 50%, increased milk osmolality by 20–25% and led to dehydration of feeding larvae. Based on these results, we conclude that gmmDripA and gmmDripB are critical for diuresis, stress tolerance and intrauterine lactation through the regulation of water and/or other uncharged solutes.
Author Summary
Glossina sp. are responsible for transmission of African trypanosomes, the causative agents of sleeping sickness in humans and Nagana in cattle. Blood feeding and nutrient provisioning through lactation during intrauterine progeny development are periods when considerable water movement occurs within tsetse flies. With the completion of the tsetse fly genome, we sought to characterize the role of aquaporins in relation water homeostasis during blood feeding, stress tolerance and the lactation cycle. We provide evidence that specific AQPs are 1. critical during diuresis following a bloodmeal, 2. important in the regulation of dehydration resistance and heat tolerance and 3. crucial in the allocation of water within tsetse milk that is necessary for progeny hydration. Specifically, we discovered a novel tsetse AQP that is imperative to lactation and may represent a potential target for population control of this disease vector.
PMCID: PMC3998938  PMID: 24762803
20.  Larval Development of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in Peri-Urban Brackish Water and Its Implications for Transmission of Arboviral Diseases 
Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) and Aedes albopictus Skuse mosquitoes transmit serious human arboviral diseases including yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya in many tropical and sub-tropical countries. Females of the two species have adapted to undergo preimaginal development in natural or artificial collections of freshwater near human habitations and feed on human blood. While there is an effective vaccine against yellow fever, the control of dengue and chikungunya is mainly dependent on reducing freshwater preimaginal development habitats of the two vectors. We show here that Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus lay eggs and their larvae survive to emerge as adults in brackish water (water with <0.5 ppt or parts per thousand, 0.5–30 ppt and >30 ppt salt are termed fresh, brackish and saline respectively). Brackish water with salinity of 2 to 15 ppt in discarded plastic and glass containers, abandoned fishing boats and unused wells in coastal peri-urban environment were found to contain Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus larvae. Relatively high incidence of dengue in Jaffna city, Sri Lanka was observed in the vicinity of brackish water habitats containing Ae. aegypti larvae. These observations raise the possibility that brackish water-adapted Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus may play a hitherto unrecognized role in transmitting dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever in coastal urban areas. National and international health authorities therefore need to take the findings into consideration and extend their vector control efforts, which are presently focused on urban freshwater habitats, to include brackish water larval development habitats.
Author Summary
Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes transmit arboviral disease like dengue and chikungunya that are of international concern. Control of dengue and chikungunya presently focuses on eliminating freshwater larval development habitats of the two mosquitoes in urban surroundings. We investigated the ability of the two mosquito species to lay eggs and undergo development into larvae, pupae and adults in brackish water, and examined brackish water collections in the peri-urban environment for the presence of larvae. The results confirmed their ability to lay eggs and for the eggs to develop into adults in brackish water. Their larvae were found in brackish water in discarded food/beverage containers and abandoned boats as well as disused wells. Such brackish water collections with larvae in Jaffna city, Sri Lanka were found near areas of high dengue incidence. This hitherto unappreciated potential contribution to arboviral disease transmission in urban areas is of global significance. National and international health authorities need to take these new findings into consideration in developing appropriate strategies for controlling diseases transmitted by the two mosquito species.
PMCID: PMC3222631  PMID: 22132243
21.  Anti-Aquaporin-1 Autoantibodies in Patients with Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorders 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74773.
Autoantibodies against aquaporin-4 (AQP4), a water channel in CNS astrocytes, are detected in ∼50–80% of patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOsd), characterized by longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) and/or optic neuritis. Although these autoantibodies present an invaluable biomarker for NMOsd and for the differential diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), diagnosis of anti-AQP4-seronegative NMOsd remains challenging. We hypothesized that seronegative NMOsd patients might have autoantibodies against aquaporin-1 (AQP1), another water channel in CNS astrocytes. We initially developed a radioimmunoprecipitation assay to search for anti-AQP1 antibodies in sera from 632 individuals. Anti-AQP1 or anti-AQP4 autoantibodies were detected in 16.7% and 12%, respectively, of 348 patients with suspected NMOsd. Anti-AQP1 specificity was confirmed by competition, protein immunoblotting and ELISA assays, whereas epitope localization was studied by immunoadsorption on intact cells expressing AQP1 and peptide mapping experiments. Most anti-AQP1 autoantibodies were of the complement-activating IgG1 subclass and the majority bound to the extracellular domain of AQP1, suggesting a possible pathogenic role. Five out of 42 MS patients had anti-AQP1 antibodies, but 2 of them also had spinal cord lesions, while the anti-AQP1 antibodies in the other 3 bound to the cytoplasmic domain of AQP1. Anti-AQP1 antibodies were not detected in 100 healthy individuals or 142 patients with non-demyelinating neuroimmune diseases. Analysis of 17 anti-AQP1+/anti-AQP4- patients with suspected NMOsd showed that 5 had NMO and 11 had LETM. 12/17 of these sera bound predominantly to the extracellular AQP1 loop-Α. Overall, we found that anti-AQP1 autoantibodies are present in a subgroup of patients with chronic demyelination in the CNS and similarities with anti-AQP4-seronegative NMOsd, offering a novel potential biomarker for CNS demyelination disorders.
PMCID: PMC3781161  PMID: 24086369
22.  Unique and Analogous Functions of Aquaporin 0 for Fiber Cell Architecture and Ocular Lens Transparency 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2011;1812(9):1089-1097.
Aquaporin (AQP) 1 and AQP0 water channels are expressed in lens epithelial and fiber cells, respectively, facilitating fluid circulation for nourishing the avascular lens to maintain transparency. Even though AQP0 water permeability is 40-fold less than AQP1, AQP0 is selectively expressed in the fibers. Delimited AQP0 fiber expression is attributed to a unique structural role as an adhesion protein. To validate this notion, we determined if wild type (WT) lens ultrastructure and fiber cell adhesion are different in AQP0−/−, and TgAQP1+/+/AQP0−/− mice that transgenically express AQP1 (TgAQP1) in fiber cells without AQP0 (AQP0−/−). In WT, lenses were transparent with ‘Y’ sutures. Fibers contained opposite end curvature, lateral interdigitations and hexagonal shape, and were arranged as concentric growth shells. AQP0−/− lenses were cataractous, lacked ‘Y’ sutures, ordered packing and well-defined lateral interdigitations. TgAQP1+/+/AQP0−/− lenses showed improvement in transparency and lateral interdigitations in the outer cortex while inner cortex and nuclear fibers were severely disintegrated. Transmission electron micrographs exhibited tightly packed fiber cells in WT whereas AQP0−/− and TgAQP1+/+/AQP0−/− lenses had wide extracellular spaces. Fibers were easily separable by teasing in AQP0−/− and TgAQP1+/+/AQP0−/− lenses compared to WT. Our data suggest that the increased water permeability through AQP1 does not compensate for loss of AQP0 expression in TgAQP1+/+/AQP0−/− mice. Fiber cell AQP0 expression is required to maintain their organization, which is a requisite for lens transparency. AQP0 appears necessary for cell-to-cell adhesion and thereby to minimize light scattering since in the AQP0−/− and TgAQP1+/+/AQP0−/− lenses, fiber cell disorganization was evident.
PMCID: PMC3143309  PMID: 21511033
AQP0; lens cataract; cell-to-cell adhesion; analogous function; unique function; lenticular architecture and transparency
23.  Characterization of Leishmania donovani Aquaporins Shows Presence of Subcellular Aquaporins Similar to Tonoplast Intrinsic Proteins of Plants 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24820.
Leishmania donovani, a protozoan parasite, resides in the macrophages of the mammalian host. The aquaporin family of proteins form important components of the parasite-host interface. The parasite-host interface could be a potential target for chemotherapy. Analysis of L. major and L. infantum genomes showed the presence of five aquaporins (AQPs) annotated as AQP9 (230aa), AQP putative (294aa), AQP-like protein (279aa), AQP1 (314aa) and AQP-like protein (596aa). We report here the structural modeling, localization and functional characterization of the AQPs from L. donovani. LdAQP1, LdAQP9, LdAQP2860 and LdAQP2870 have the canonical NPA-NPA motifs, whereas LdAQP putative has a non-canonical NPM-NPA motif. In the carboxyl terminal to the second NPA box of all AQPs except AQP1, a valine/alanine residue was found instead of the arginine. In that respect these four AQPs are similar to tonoplast intrinsic proteins in plants, which are localized to intracellular organelles. Confocal microscopy of L. donovani expressing GFP-tagged AQPs showed an intracellular localization of LdAQP9 and LdAQP2870. Real-time PCR assays showed expression of all aquaporins except LdAQP2860, whose level was undetectable. Three-dimensional homology modeling of the AQPs showed that LdAQP1 structure bears greater topological similarity to the aquaglyceroporin than to aquaporin of E. coli. The pore of LdAQP1 was very different from the rest in shape and size. The cavity of LdAQP2860 was highly irregular and undefined in geometry. For functional characterization, four AQP proteins were heterologously expressed in yeast. In the fps1Δ yeast cells, which lacked the key aquaglyceroporin, LdAQP1 alone displayed an osmosensitive phenotype indicating glycerol transport activity. However, expression of LdAQP1 and LdAQP putative in a yeast gpd1Δ strain, deleted for glycerol production, conferred osmosensitive phenotype indicating water transport activity or aquaporin function. Our analysis for the first time shows the presence of subcellular aquaporins and provides structural and functional characterization of aquaporins in Leishmania donovani.
PMCID: PMC3182166  PMID: 21969862
24.  Mapping of neuropeptides in the crustacean stomatogastric nervous system by imaging mass spectrometry 
Considerable effort has been devoted to characterizing the crustacean stomatogastric nervous system (STNS) with great emphasis on comprehensive analysis and mapping distribution of its diverse neuropeptide complement. Previously, immunohistochemistry (IHC) has been applied to this endeavor yet with identification accuracy and throughput compromised. Therefore, molecular imaging methods are pursued to unequivocally determine the identity and location of the neuropeptides at a high spatial resolution. In this work, we developed a novel multi-faceted mass spectrometric strategy combining profiling and imaging techniques to characterize and map neuropeptides from the blue crab Callinectes sapidus STNS at the network level. In total, 55 neuropeptides from 10 families were identified from the major ganglia in the C. sapidus STNS for the first time, including the stomatogastric ganglion (STG), the paired commissural ganglia (CoG), the esophageal ganglion (OG), and the connecting nerve stomatogastric nerve (stn) using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization tandem time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF/TOF) and the MS/MS capability of this technique. In addition, the locations of multiple neuropeptides were documented at a spatial resolution of 25 μm in the STG and upstream nerve using MALDI-TOF/TOF and high-mass-resolution and high-mass-accuracy MALDI-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) instrument. Furthermore, distributions of neuropeptides in the whole C. sapidus STNS were examined by imaging mass spectrometry (IMS). Different isoforms from the same family were simultaneously and unambiguously mapped, facilitating the functional exploration of neuropeptides present in the crustacean STNS and exemplifying the revolutionary role of this novel platform in neuronal network studies.
PMCID: PMC3554855  PMID: 23192703
Crustacean; STNS; Neuropeptide; Imaging mass spectrometry; High resolution MS
25.  Adaptive Transition of Aquaporin 5 Expression and Localization during Preimplantation Embryo Development by In Vitro Culture 
Adaptive development of early stage embryo is well established and recently it is explored that the mammalian embryos also have adaptive ability to the stressful environment. However, the mechanisms are largely unknown. In this study, to evaluate the possible role of aquaporin in early embryo developmental adaptation, the expression of aquaporin (AQP) 5 gene which is detected during early development were examined by the environmental condition. To compare expression patterns between in vivo and in vitro, we conducted quantitative RT-PCR and analyzed localization of the AQP5 by whole mount immunofluorescence. At in vivo condition, Aqp5 expressed in oocyte and in all the stages of preimplantation embryo. It showed peak at 2-cell stage and decreased continuously until morula stage. At in vitro condition, Aqp5 expression pattern was similar with in vivo embryos. It expressed both at embryonic genome activation phase and second midpreimplantation gene activation phase, but the fold changes were modified between in vivo embryos and in vitro embryos. During in vivo development, AQP5 was mainly localized in apical membrane of blastomeres of 4-cell and 8-cell stage embryos, and then it was localized in cytoplasm. However, the main localization area of AQP5 was dramatically shifted after 8-cell stage from cytoplasm to nucleus by in vitro development. Those results explore the modification of Aqp5 expression levels and location of its final products by in vitro culture. It suggests that expression of Aqp5 and the roles of AQP5 in homeostasis can be modulated by in vitro culture, and that early stage embryos can develop successfully by themselves adapting to their condition through modulation of the specific gene expression and localization.
PMCID: PMC4282210  PMID: 25949184
Aquaporin 5; Preimplantation embryo; Localization; Adapation; In vitro cultrue

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