Talbot, K., Kwong, R.W., Gilmour, K.M., Perry, S.F. (2015) The water channel aquaporin-1a1 facilitates movement of CO2 and ammonia in zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae. The Journal of experimental biology. 218:3931-3940.
The present study tested the hypothesis that zebrafish (Danio rerio) aquaporin-1a1 (AQP1a1) serves as a multi-functional channel for the transfer of the small gaseous molecules, CO2 and ammonia, as well as water, across biological membranes. Zebrafish embryos were microinjected with a translation-blocking morpholino oligonucleotide targeted to AQP1a1. Knockdown of AQP1a1 significantly reduced rates of CO2 and ammonia excretion, as well as water fluxes, in larvae at 4 days post fertilization (dpf). Because AQP1a1 is expressed both in ionocytes present on the body surface and in red blood cells, the haemolytic agent phenylhydrazine was used to distinguish between the contributions of AQP1a1 to gas transfer in these two locations. Phenylhydrazine treatment had no effect on AQP1a1-linked excretion of CO2 or ammonia, providing evidence that AQP1a1 localized to the yolk sac epithelium, rather than red blood cell AQP1a1, is the major site of CO2 and ammonia movements. The possibility that AQP1a1 and the rhesus glycoprotein Rhcg1, which also serves as a dual CO2 and ammonia channel, act in concert to facilitate CO2 and ammonia excretion was explored. Although knockdown of each protein did not affect the abundance of mRNA and protein of the other protein under control conditions, impairment of ammonia excretion by chronic exposure to high external ammonia triggered a significant increase in the abundance of AQP1a1 mRNA and protein in 4 dpf larvae experiencing Rhcg1 knockdown. Collectively, these results suggest that AQP1a1 in zebrafish larvae facilitates the movement of CO2 and ammonia, as well as water, in a physiologically relevant fashion.