Ammonia excretion in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): Evidence for Rh glycoprotein and H+-ATPase involvement

C. Michele Nawata, Carrie C.Y. Hung, Tommy K.N. Tsui, Jonathan M. Wilson, Patricia A. Wright, Chris M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


Branchial ammonia transport in freshwater teleosts is not well understood. Most studies conclude that NH3 diffuses out of the gill and becomes protonated to NH4+ in an acidified gill boundary layer. Rhesus (Rh) proteins are new members of the ammonia transporter superfamily and rainbow trout possess genes encoding for Rh30-like1 and Rhcg2. We identified seven additional full-length trout Rh cDNA sequences: one Rhag and two each of Rhbg, Rhcg1, and Rh30-like. The mRNA expression of Rhbg, Rhcg1, and Rhcg2 was examined in trout tissues (blood, brain, eye, gill, heart, intestine, kidney, liver, muscle, skin, spleen) exposed to high external ammonia (HEA; 1.5 mmol/l NH4HCO3, pH 7.95, 15°C). Rhbg was expressed in all tissues, Rhcg1 was expressed in brain, gill, liver, and skin, and Rhcg2 was expressed in gill and skin. Brain Rhbg and Rhcg1 were downregulated, blood Rh30-like and Rhag were downregulated, and skin Rhbg and Rhcg2 were upregulated with HEA. After an initial uptake of ammonia into the fish during HEA, excretion was reestablished, coinciding with upregulations of gill Rh mRNA in the pavement cell fraction: Rhcg2 at 12 and 48 h, and Rhbg at 48 h. NHE2 expression remained unchanged, but upregulated H+-ATPase (V-type, B-subunit) and downregulated carbonic anhydrase (CA2) expression and activity were noted in the gill and again expression changes occurred in pavement cells, and not in mitochondria-rich cells. Together, these results indicate Rh glycoprotein involvement in ammonia transport and excretion in the rainbow trout while underscoring the significance of gill boundary layer acidification by H +-ATPase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-474
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiological Genomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 14 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Ammonia transport
  • Gene expression
  • Gill
  • Rhesus proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Ammonia excretion in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): Evidence for Rh glycoprotein and H<sup>+</sup>-ATPase involvement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this