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Malekar VC, Morton JD, Hider RN, Cruickshank RH, Hodge S, Metcalf VJ.2018. Effect of elevated temperature on membrane lipid saturation in Antarctic notothenioid fish. PeerJ Preprints6:e26472v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.26472v1
Homeoviscous adaptation (HVA) is a key cellular response by which fish protect their membranes against thermal stress. We investigated evolutionary HVA (long time scale) in Antarctic and non-Antarctic fish. Membrane lipid composition was determined for four Perciformes fish: two closely related Antarctic notothenioid species (Trematomus bernacchii and Pagothenia borchgrevinki); a diversified related notothenioid Antarctic icefish (Chionodraco hamatus); and a New Zealand species (Notolabrus celidotus). The membrane lipid compositions were consistent across the three Antarctic species and these were significantly different from that of the New Zealand species. Furthermore, acclimatory HVA (short time periods with seasonal changes) was investigated to determine whether stenothermal Antarctic fish, which evolved in the cold, stable environment of the Southern Ocean, have lost the acclimatory capacity to modulate their membrane saturation states, making them vulnerable to anthropogenic global warming. We compared liver membrane lipid composition in two closely related Antarctic fish species acclimated at 0 °C (control temperature), 4 °C for a period of 14 days in Trematomus bernacchii and 28 days for Pagothenia borchgrevinki, and 6 °C for 7 days in both species. Thermal acclimation at 4 °C did not result in changed membrane saturation states in either Antarctic species. Despite this, membrane functions were not compromised, as indicated by declining serum osmolality, implying positive compensation by enhanced hypo-osmoregulation. Increasing the temperature to 6 °C did not change the membrane lipids of P. borchgrevinki. However, in T. bernacchii, thermal acclimation at 6 °C resulted in an increase of membrane saturated fatty acids and a decline in unsaturated fatty acids. This is the first study to show a homeoviscous response to higher temperatures in an Antarctic fish, although for only one of the two species examined.