Differential regulation of select osmoregulatory genes and Na+/K+-ATPase paralogs may contribute to population differences in salinity tolerance in a semi-anadromous fish

Paige C. Mundy, Ken M. Jeffries, Nann A. Fangue, Richard E. Connon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus) is a species of special concern that is native to the San Francisco Estuary, USA. Two genetically distinct populations exist and differ in maximal salinity tolerances. We examined the expression of 12 genes representative of osmoregulatory functions in the gill over a 14 day time course at two different salinities [11 or 14 PSU (Practical Salinity Units)] and revealed that each population showed distinct patterns of gene expression consistent with population differences in response to osmotic regimes. The relatively more salinity-tolerant San Pablo population significantly upregulated nine out of the 12 transcripts investigated on day 1 of 11 PSU salinity exposure in comparison to the day zero freshwater control. Three transcripts (nka1a, nka1b, and mmp13) were differentially expressed between the populations at 7 and 14 days of salinity exposure, suggesting a reduced ability of the relatively salinity-intolerant Central Valley population to recover. Additionally, a phylogenetic analysis of several Sacramento splittail Na+/K+-ATPase α1 sequences resulted in grouping by proposed paralog rather than species, suggesting that different paralogs of this gene may exist. These findings, together with prior research conducted on the Sacramento splittail, suggest that the San Pablo population may be able to preferentially regulate select osmoregulatory genes, including different Na+/K+-ATPase α1 paralogs, to better cope with salinity challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110584
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Estuary
  • mRNA abundance
  • Osmoregulation
  • Pogonichthys macrolepidotus
  • Sacramento splittail
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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