Functional genomic and molecular analyses of transcripts related to glycerol synthesis and trafficking in rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) using cold temperature-induced models of glycerol production

Hall, Jennifer R. (2016) Functional genomic and molecular analyses of transcripts related to glycerol synthesis and trafficking in rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) using cold temperature-induced models of glycerol production. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) is an anadromous teleost that produces type II antifreeze protein (AFP) and accumulates modest urea and high glycerol levels in plasma and tissues as adaptive cryoprotectant mechanisms in sub-zero temperatures. It is known that glyceroneogenesis occurs in liver via a branch in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis and is activated by low temperature; however, the precise mechanisms of glycerol synthesis and trafficking in smelt remain to be elucidated. The objective of this thesis was to provide further insight using functional genomic techniques [e.g. suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) cDNA library construction, microarray analyses] and molecular analyses [e.g. cloning, quantitative reverse transcription - polymerase chain reaction (QPCR)]. Novel molecular mechanisms related to glyceroneogenesis were deciphered by comparing the transcript expression profiles of glycerol (cold temperature) and non-glycerol (warm temperature) accumulating hepatocytes (Chapter 2) and livers from intact smelt (Chapter 3). Briefly, glycerol synthesis can be initiated from both amino acids and carbohydrate; however carbohydrate appears to be the preferred source when it is readily available. In glycerol accumulating hepatocytes, levels of the hepatic glucose transporter (GLUT2) plummeted and transcript levels of a suite of genes (PEPCK, MDH2, AAT2, GDH and AQP9) associated with the mobilization of amino acids to fuel glycerol synthesis were all transiently higher. In contrast, in glycerol accumulating livers from intact smelt, glycerol synthesis was primarily fuelled by glycogen degradation with higher PGM and PFK (glycolysis) transcript levels. Whether initiated from amino acids or carbohydrate, there were common metabolic underpinnings. Increased PDK2 (an inhibitor of PDH) transcript levels would direct pyruvate derived from amino acids and / or DHAP derived from G6P to glycerol as opposed to oxidation via the citric acid cycle. Robust LIPL (triglyceride catabolism) transcript levels would provide free fatty acids that could be oxidized to fuel ATP synthesis. Increased cGPDH (glyceroneogenesis) transcript levels were not required for increased glycerol production, suggesting that regulation is more likely by post-translational modification. Finally, levels of a transcript potentially encoding glycerol-3-phosphatase, an enzyme not yet characterized in any vertebrate species, were transiently higher. These comparisons also led to the novel discoveries that increased G6Pase (glucose synthesis) and increased GS (glutamine synthesis) transcript levels were part of the low temperature response in smelt. Glucose may provide increased colligative protection against freezing; whereas glutamine could serve to store nitrogen released from amino acid catabolism in a non-toxic form and / or be used to synthesize urea via purine synthesis-uricolysis. Novel key aspects of cryoprotectant osmolyte (glycerol and urea) trafficking were elucidated by cloning and characterizing three aquaglyceroporin (GLP)-encoding genes from smelt at the gene and cDNA levels in Chapter 4. GLPs are integral membrane proteins that facilitate passive movement of water, glycerol and urea across cellular membranes. The highlight was the discovery that AQP10ba transcript levels always increase in posterior kidney only at low temperature. This AQP10b gene paralogue may have evolved to aid in the reabsorption of urea from the proximal tubule. This research has contributed significantly to a general understanding of the cold adaptation response in smelt, and more specifically to the development of a working scenario for the mechanisms involved in glycerol synthesis and trafficking in this species.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 11746
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: rainbow smelt, cold temperature, glycerol, urea, aquaglyceroporin, functional genomics
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: January 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Rainbow smelt--Effect of cold on; Antifreeze proteins--Metabolism--Climatic factors; Glycerin--Synthesis

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