Gill Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase (NKA) in teleost fishes is involved in ion regulation in both freshwater and seawater. We have developed and validated rabbit polyclonal antibodies specific to the NKA alpha1a and alpha1b protein isoforms of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar Linnaeus), and used western blots and immunohistochemistry to characterize their size, abundance and localization. The relative molecular mass of NKA alpha1a is slightly less than that for NKA beta1b. The abundance of gill NKA alpha1a was high in freshwater and became nearly undetectable after seawater acclimation. NKA alpha1b was present in small amounts in freshwater and increased 13-fold after seawater acclimation. Both NKA isoforms were detected only in chloride cells. NKA alpha1a was located in both filamental and lamellar chloride cells in freshwater, whereas in seawater it was present only as a faint background in filamental chloride cells. In freshwater, NKA alpha1b was found in a small number of filamental chloride cells, and after seawater acclimation it was found in all chloride cells on the filament and lamellae. Double simultaneous immunofluorescence indicated that NKA alpha1a and alpha1b are located in different chloride cells in freshwater. In many chloride cells in seawater, NKA alpha1b was present in greater amounts in the subapical region than elsewhere in the cell. The combined patterns in abundance and immunolocalization of these two isoforms can explain the salinity-related changes in total NKA and chloride cell abundance. The results indicate that there is a freshwater and a seawater isoform of NKA alpha-subunit in the gills of Atlantic salmon and that they are present in distinct chloride cells.
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Distinct freshwater and seawater isoforms of Na+/K+-ATPase in gill chloride cells of Atlantic salmon