Aquaporins (AQPs), also known as water channel proteins, are members of a large protein family termed Major Intrinsic Proteins (MIP). The mammalian AQPs have been most comprehensively described, while knowledge about AQPs in invertebrates is limited mainly to insects. Not a single AQP protein has been described in snails to date. Consequently, we decided to search for the proteins in gastropod representatives, namely Lymnaea stagnalis, Catascopia occulta, and Stagnicola palustris (Mollusca; Gastropoda; Pulmonata; Lymnaeidae). Using the molecular approach, we identified L. stagnalis, C. occulta, and S. palustris open reading frames (ORFs) showing homology to AQP genes available in GenBank database, and characterized the encoded proteins, referred to as LsAQP1, CoAQP1, and SpAQP1, respectively. The putative snail aquaporins contain 299 amino acids, have a molecular mass of about 32 kDa, display the general AQP topology and three-dimensional structure congruent with orthodox AQPs, i.e., water-specific ones. Due to high levels of similarity in their characteristics, LsAQP1 was chosen for further studies, as the obtained results were supposed to be applicable for CoAQP1 and SpAQP1. Expression analysis revealed the presence of LsAQP1 transcript in the digestive tract, the cerebral ganglia, the kidney, the reproductive system, and the foot, suggesting that LsAQP1 as well as CoAQP1 and SpAQP1 are ubiquitous proteins and may play important roles in many essential water transport processes. The role appears to be confirmed by results of the yeast growth complementation assay pointing at functionality of LsAQP1. Thus, the obtained results support the AQP expression in gastropod tissues for the first time.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 21, 2014
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