Adaptations to in situ feeding: Novel nutrient acquisition pathways in an ancient vertebrate

Chris N. Glover, Carol Bucking, Chris M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During feeding, hagfish may immerse themselves in the body cavities of decaying carcasses, encountering high levels of dissolved organic nutrients. We hypothesized that this feeding environment might promote nutrient acquisition by the branchial and epidermal epithelia. The potential for Pacific hagfish, Eptatretus stoutii, to absorb amino acids from the environment across the skin and gill was thus investigated. L-alanine and glycine were absorbed via specific transport pathways across both gill and skin surfaces, the first such documentation of direct organic nutrient acquisition in a vertebrate animal. Uptake occurred via distinct mechanisms with respect to concentration dependence, sodium dependence and effects of putative transport inhibitors across each epithelium. Significant differences in the absorbed amino acid distribution between the skin of juveniles and adults were noted. The ability to absorb dissolved organic matter across the skin and gill may be an adaptation to a scavenging lifestyle, allowing hagfish to maximize sporadic opportunities for organic nutrient acquisition. From an evolutionary perspective, hagfish represent a transitory state between the generalized nutrient absorption pathways of aquatic invertebrates and the more specialized digestive systems of aquatic vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3096-3101
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume278
Issue number1721
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 22 2011

Fingerprint

Hagfishes
Myxini
Nutrients
Vertebrates
vertebrate
skin (animal)
vertebrates
skin
Skin
nutrient
nutrients
gills
alanylglycine
Epithelium
Amino Acids
Food
Digestive System
epithelium
Digestive system
amino acid

Keywords

  • Absorption
  • Amino acid
  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Feeding physiology
  • Gill
  • Integument

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Adaptations to in situ feeding : Novel nutrient acquisition pathways in an ancient vertebrate. / Glover, Chris N.; Bucking, Carol; Wood, Chris M.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 278, No. 1721, 22.10.2011, p. 3096-3101.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Glover, Chris N. ; Bucking, Carol ; Wood, Chris M. / Adaptations to in situ feeding : Novel nutrient acquisition pathways in an ancient vertebrate. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2011 ; Vol. 278, No. 1721. pp. 3096-3101.
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