Effects of short-term culture on the physiology of mitochondrion-rich cells in the opercular membrane of Fundulus heteroclitus
Cornwell, Emily R.
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Mitochondrion-rich cells (MRCs) are crucial to most of the physiological processes in gills that allow marine teleosts to osmoregulate. Direct physiological studies of gill function are difficult because the teleost gill is morphologically complex and have mainly been limited to studies of the Fundulus heteroclitus opercular membrane. Recently, gill tissue culture has been used to study the physiology of the teleost gill, however it is unclear how well these monocultures of cells accurately mimic the complex interactions that occur within the multitude of cell types in the gill. Research reported here investigated the viability of MRCs under short-term culture. We tested the viability of these cells at four different levels: morphological vitality through microscopy, production of transcripts through rt-PCR, production of proteins through western blotting, and activity of proteins through an activity assay. In every way measured, cells maintained in this culture method were viable for at least 24 h. Our encouraging results help provide a new approach to continued investigation of the physiology of teleost osmoregulation.