Differential Gene Expression in Liver, Gill, and Olfactory Rosettes of Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) After Acclimation to Salinity

Lindley A. Maryoung*, Ramon Lavado, Theo K. Bammler, Evan P. Gallagher, Patricia L. Stapleton, Richard P. Beyer, Federico M. Farin, Gary Hardiman, Daniel Schlenk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Most Pacific salmonids undergo smoltification and transition from freshwater to saltwater, making various adjustments in metabolism, catabolism, osmotic, and ion regulation. The molecular mechanisms underlying this transition are largely unknown. In the present study, we acclimated coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) to four different salinities and assessed gene expression through microarray analysis of gills, liver, and olfactory rosettes. Gills are involved in osmotic regulation, liver plays a role in energetics, and olfactory rosettes are involved in behavior. Between all salinity treatments, liver had the highest number of differentially expressed genes at 1616, gills had 1074, and olfactory rosettes had 924, using a 1.5-fold cutoff and a false discovery rate of 0.5. Higher responsiveness of liver to metabolic changes after salinity acclimation to provide energy for other osmoregulatory tissues such as the gills may explain the differences in number of differentially expressed genes. Differentially expressed genes were tissue- and salinity-dependent. There were no known genes differentially expressed that were common to all salinity treatments and all tissues. Gene ontology term analysis revealed biological processes, molecular functions, and cellular components that were significantly affected by salinity, a majority of which were tissue-dependent. For liver, oxygen binding and transport terms were highlighted. For gills, muscle, and cytoskeleton-related terms predominated and for olfactory rosettes, immune response-related genes were accentuated. Interaction networks were examined in combination with GO terms and determined similarities between tissues for potential osmosensors, signal transduction cascades, and transcription factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-717
Number of pages15
JournalMarine biotechnology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene expression
  • Microarray
  • Salinity
  • Salmonids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Aquatic Science

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