Polar Biology

, Volume 28, Issue 11, pp 805–814 | Cite as

Thermal sensitivity of cellular energy budgets in some Antarctic fish hepatocytes

Original Paper


Oxygen demand elicited by the main cellular energy consumers was examined in isolated hepatocytes of sub-Antarctic (Lepidonotothen larseni) and high-Antarctic notothenioids (Trematomus eulepidotus, Trematomus pennellii, Trematomus lepidorhinus, Trematomus bernacchii, Artedidraco orianae) and in a zoarcid (Pachycara brachycephalum) fish with respect to the role of cellular metabolism in co-defining thermal tolerance. The relative proportions of energy allocated to protein and RNA/DNA synthesis, ion regulation and ATP synthesis were quantified between 0°C and 15°C by analysis of inhibitor sensitive cellular respiration. In all the investigated species, protein synthesis constituted 25–37%, RNA synthesis 24–35%, Na+/K+-ATPase 40–45% and mitochondrial ATP synthesis 57–65% of total respiration. The sub-Antarctic nototheniid L. larseni displayed lower cellular protein synthesis rates but somewhat higher active ion regulation activities than its high-Antarctic confamilials, as is typical for more eurythermal species. Assumed thermal optima were mirrored in minimized overall cellular energy demand. In the sub-Antarctic L. larseni and P. brachycephalum, minima of oxygen consumption were located between 3°C and 6°C, indicating elevated energy turnover below and above these temperatures. In contrast, the high-Antarctic species displayed progressively rising respiration rates during warming with a cellular energetic minimum at 0°C. The sub-Antarctic nototheniid and the zoarcid showed signs of cold-eurythermy and appear to live close to their lower limit of thermal tolerance, while high-Antarctic notothenioids show high degrees of energetic efficiency at 0°C. All cellular preparations maintained energy budgets over a wide thermal range, supporting the recent concept that thermal limits are set by oxygen and associated energy limitations at the whole organism level.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und MeeresforschungPhysiologie mariner TiereBremerhavenGermany

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