Extreme anoxia tolerance in embryos of the annual killifish Austrofundulus limnaeus: Insights from a metabolomics analysis

Jason E. Podrabsky, James P. Lopez, Teresa W.M. Fan, Richard Higashi, George N. Somero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations

Abstract

The annual killifish Austrofundulus limnaeus survives in ephemeral pond habitats by producing drought-tolerant diapausing embryos. These embryos probably experience oxygen deprivation as part of their normal developmental environment. We assessed the anoxia tolerance of A. limnaeus embryos across the duration of embryonic development. Embryos develop a substantial tolerance to anoxia during early development, which peaks during diapause II. This extreme tolerance of anoxia is retained during the first 4 days of post-diapause II development and is then lost. Metabolism during anoxia appears to be supported mainly by production of lactate, with alanine and succinate production contributing to a lesser degree. Anoxic embryos also accumulate large quantities of γ-aminobutyrate (GABA), a potential protector of neural function. It appears that the suite of characters associated with normal development and entry into diapause II in this species prepares the embryos for long-term survival in anoxia even while the embryos are exposed to aerobic conditions. This is the first report of such extreme anoxia tolerance in a vertebrate embryo, and introduces a new model for the study of anoxia tolerance in vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2253-2266
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume210
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2007

Keywords

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Anoxia
  • Development
  • Fish
  • GABA
  • Lactate
  • Metabolic depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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