Lind U, Alm Rosenblad M, Wrange AL, Sundell KS, Jonsson PR, André C, Havenhand J, Blomberg A
PLoS ONE 8 (10) e77069 [2013-10-09; online 2013-10-09]
The euryhaline bay barnacle Balanus improvisus has one of the broadest salinity tolerances of any barnacle species. It is able to complete its life cycle in salinities close to freshwater (3 PSU) up to fully marine conditions (35 PSU) and is regarded as one of few truly brackish-water species. Na⁺/K⁺ ATPase (NAK) has been shown to be important for osmoregulation when marine organisms are challenged by changing salinities, and we therefore cloned and examined the expression of different NAKs from B. improvisus. We found two main gene variants, NAK1 and NAK2, which were approximately 70% identical at the protein level. The NAK1 mRNA existed in a long and short variant with the encoded proteins differing only by 27 N-terminal amino acids. This N-terminal stretch was coded for by a separate exon, and the two variants of NAK1 mRNAs appeared to be created by alternative splicing. We furthermore showed that the two NAK1 isoforms were differentially expressed in different life stages and in various tissues of adult barnacle, i.e the long isoform was predominant in cyprids and in adult cirri. In barnacle cyprid larvae that were exposed to a combination of different salinities and pCO2 levels, the expression of the long NAK1 mRNA increased relative to the short in low salinities. We suggest that the alternatively spliced long variant of the Nak1 protein might be of importance for osmoregulation in B. improvisus in low salinity conditions.