Influence of salinity on the localization and expression of the CFTR chloride channel in the ionocytes ofDicentrarchus labraxduring ontogeny

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SummaryThe expression and localization of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) were determined in four osmoregulatory tissues during the ontogeny of the sea-bass Dicentrarchus labrax acclimated to fresh water and sea water. At hatch in sea water, immunolocalization showed an apical CFTR in the digestive tract and integumental ionocytes. During the ontogeny, although CFTR was consistently detected in the digestive tract, it shifted from the integument to the gills. In fresh water, CFTR was not present in the integument and the gills, suggesting the absence of chloride secretion. In the kidney, the CFTR expression was brief from D4 to D35, prior to the larva–juvenile transition. CFTR was apical in the renal tubules, suggesting a chloride secretion at both salinities, and it was basolateral only in sea water in the collecting ducts, suggesting chloride absorption. In the posterior intestine, CFTR was located differently from D4 depending on salinity. In sea water, the basolateral CFTR may facilitate ionic absorption, perhaps in relation to water uptake. In fresh water, CFTR was apical in the gut, suggesting chloride secretion. Increased osmoregulatory ability was acquired just before metamorphosis, which is followed by the sea-lagoon migration.

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