About this Research Topic
By living in a 'world of water' fish are exposed to major challenges in maintaining water homeostasis. These are opposite in nature for fish living in marine and freshwater milieus; however, in both cases threatening, obligatory water fluxes due to global osmotic gradients must be compensated by opposite fluxes, driven by body fluid filtration and/or locally created osmotic gradients. In general, water may pass epithelia that are hydrophobic in nature by para- and/or transcellular pathways, the former mainly defined by the characteristics of tight junctions, the latter determined by the combined permeability of apical and baso-lateral cellular membranes. Transcellular water transport may occur by simple diffusion through lipid bilayers or become markedly improved by insertion of plasma membrane integral channel proteins of the Aquaporin (AQP) family. In mammals, 13 AQP subfamilies are present and several of these have been investigated structurally and functionally in >5000 publications since their discovery in 1992 by Agre and colleagues.
The first paper on AQPs in fish appeared in 2000 (Cutler and Cramb) but surprisingly few papers have addressed AQPs in fishes and other non-mammalian vertebrate classes since then. In zebrafish, 18 genes encode AQPs with homology to all but a few of the mammalian isoforms. Only few of these isoforms have been studied to some extent in this and other species.
AQPs most certainly play distinct osmoregulatory roles in fish as they do in mammals - both at the cellular and organismal level. However, there is a considerable lack of information from the fish world on this topic. At present, only ca. 50 papers have addressed AQPs in fish - most of these being concerned with basic investigations of isoform expression in various tissues of different teleosts.
This Research Topic will bring together original information as well as bring the field up-to-date on topics related to 'Aquaporins in fish - expression, localization and functional dynamics', hopefully thereby stimulating new research in this area. Contributions within the following areas are
• Molecular biology of water transport
• AQP physiology and functionality (in vitro and in vivo studies)
• Cellular and subcellular localization of AQPs
• AQPs and cellular volume regulation/osmosensing
• AQPs and transepithelial water transport in kidney tubules and intestinal segments
• Endocrine regulation of AQPs
• Cellular trafficking of AQPs
• Pharmacological inhibition of AQPs
• The role of AQPs in handling "non-water" substances (toxic, waste etc.)
• Mini-reviews identifying areas of special interest.
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