Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) brain cells respond to hyperosmotic challenge by inducing myo-inositol biosynthesis

Alison M. Gardell, Jun Yang, Romina Sacchi, Nann A. Fangue, Bruce D. Hammock, Dietmar Kltz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This study aimed to determine the regulation of the de novo myo-inositol biosynthetic (MIB) pathway in Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) brain following acute (25 ppt) and chronic (30, 60 and 90 ppt) salinity acclimations. The MIB pathway plays an important role in accumulating the compatible osmolyte, myo-inositol, in cells in response to hyperosmotic challenge and consists of two enzymes, myo-inositol phosphate synthase and inositol monophosphatase. In tilapia brain, MIB enzyme transcriptional regulation was found to robustly increase in a time (acute acclimation) or dose (chronic acclimation) dependent manner. Blood plasma osmolality and Na+ and ClOconcentrations were also measured and significantly increased in response to both acute and chronic salinity challenges. Interestingly, highly significant positive correlations were found between MIB enzyme mRNA and blood plasma osmolality in both acute and chronic salinity acclimations. Additionally, a mass spectrometry assay was established and used to quantify total myo-inositol concentration in tilapia brain, which closely mirrored the hyperosmotic MIB pathway induction. Thus, myo-inositol is a major compatible osmolyte that is accumulated in brain cells when exposed to acute and chronic hyperosmotic challenge. These data show that the MIB pathway is highly induced in response to environmental salinity challenge in tilapia brain and that this induction is likely prompted by increases in blood plasma osmolality. Because the MIB pathway uses glucose-6-phosphate as a substrate and large amounts of myo-inositol are being synthesized, our data also illustrate that the MIB pathway likely contributes to the high energetic demand posed by salinity challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4615-4625
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Brain
  • Compatible osmolyte
  • Myo-inositol
  • Osmoregulation
  • Tilapia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Insect Science
  • Aquatic Science


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