Osmoregulation is critical for the survival of fishes that migrate between freshwater (FW) and seawater (SW). The eel, as a catadromous fish, has been studied for decades to reveal the mechanisms of osmoregulation. These studies, however, have been limited by the lack of a genomic database to decipher the mechanism of osmoregulation at a molecular level. In this study, using high-throughput transcriptomic and proteomic technologies, we have provided the first genome-wide study to identify hyperosmotic responsive proteins in the gills of the Japanese eel. Deep sequencing using the 454 platform produced over 660,000 reads with a mean length of 385. bp. For the proteomic study, we collected gill samples from three different treatment groups of fish that had fully adapted to FW/SW or were transferred from FW to SW for 6. h. The respective group of gill proteins were extracted and labeled using an isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) using LTQ-Orbitrap, a high resolution mass spectrometer. Among the 1519 proteins identified from the gill samples, 96 proteins were differentially expressed between FW and SW adapted fish. Nineteen hyperosmotic responsive proteins were detected (10 up-regulated and 9 down-regulated proteins) after 6. h post FW to SW transfer. Biological significance: The study has provided the most comprehensive, targeted investigation of eel gill proteins to date, and shown the powerfulness of combining transcriptomic and proteomic approaches to provide molecular insights of osmoregulation mechanisms in a non-model organism, eel.
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