Temperature adaptation in eurythermal cod (Gadus morhua): a comparison of mitochondrial enzyme capacities in boreal and Arctic populations
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Activities of citrate synthase (CS), cytochrome c oxidase (CCO) and the electron transport system (ETS) were investigated in white muscle and liver of laboratory-maintained cod, Gadusmorhua, from the North Sea, Norwegian coast and Barents Sea for an analysis of temperature acclimation and adaptation in aerobic metabolism. Cold acclimation within each population led to elevated activities of CS, CCO and ETS in white muscle. In liver, however, only North Sea cod showed cold-compensated CS activities, with CCO and ETS unchanged. In contrast, cold-acclimated Norwegian cod displayed unchanged enzyme activities, and Arctic cod showed elevated activities for CS, but decreased activities for CCO and no change in ETS. Between-population comparisons revealed clear evidence for permanent cold adaptation in white muscle of northern (Norwegian coast and Barents Sea) compared to boreal (North Sea) cod populations, reflected by higher activities of CS, CCO and ETS at the same acclimation temperature. Cold-compensated, mass-specific enzyme activities in liver were found in northern compared to boreal cod for CS and CCO, however, for ETS, after warm acclimation only. When evaluated as capacity in total liver, such activities were only found in northern populations in the case of CS at all temperatures, and for CCO and ETS at 15°C only. Hepatosomatic index (IH) and liver lipid contents were highest in North Sea cod, with similar IH but lower lipid contents in cold- versus warm-acclimated animals. An acclimation effect on IH was found in Norwegian cod only, with higher IH but unchanged lipid contents in the cold. In conclusion, permanent cold adaptation of muscle aerobic metabolism prevails in cod populations at higher latitudes, which is in line with permanently elevated rates of oxygen consumption observed in a parallel study. These differences reflect higher maintenance costs in cold-adapted versus cold-acclimated cod.
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