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Mechanisms of Cu tolerance were investigated in respiratory epithelial cell cultures, from rainbow trout gills, by studying O(2) consumption and protein synthesis rates, intracellular Na concentration and TER. The lowest concentration found to reduce O(2) consumption was 25 micro-M Cu. This did not affect either protein synthesis rate or intracellular Na concentration and was interpreted in terms of copper tolerance; i.e. how energetically demanding processes are maintained despite reduced ATP supply. Protein synthesis costs were energy saving. Intracellular Na maintenance costs declined but TER was unaffected implying membrane channel arrest. Thus Na/K ATPase energy demands could be reduced by de-coupling metabolic demand and membrane function. This study may demonstrate how energetic flexibility enables gill cells to tolerate sub-lethal Cu.

Additional information

Authors: SMITH R W, University of Aberdeen, Department of Zoology (UK) and JRC, Environment Institute, Ispra (IT);JFNSSON M, Uppsala University, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Department of Environmental Toxicology (SE);HOULIHAN F, University of Aberdeen, Department of Zoology (UK);P?RT P, JRC, Environment Institute, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, Vol.24 (2001), pp.157-169
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