Identification and proximal tubular localization of the Mg2+ transporter, Slc41a1, in a seawater fish

Zinia Islam, Naoko Hayashi, Yoko Yamamoto, Hiroyuki Doi, Michael F. Romero, Shigehisa Hirose, Akira Kato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The second most abundant cation in seawater (SW), Mg2+, is present at concentrations of ~53 mM. Marine teleosts maintain plasma Mg2+ concentration at 1-2 mM by excreting Mg2+ into the urine. Urine Mg2+ concentrations of SW teleosts exceed 70 mM, most of which is secreted by the renal tubular epithelial cells. However, molecular mechanisms of the Mg2+ secretion have yet to be clarified. To identify transporters involved in Mg2+ secretion, we analyzed the expression of fish homologs of the Slc41 Mg2+ transporter family in various tissues of SW pufferfish torafugu (Takifugu rubripes) and its closely related euryhaline species mefugu (Takifugu obscurus). Takifugu genome contained five members of Slc41 genes, and only Slc41a1 was highly expressed in the kidney. Renal expression of Slc41a1 was markedly elevated when mefugu were transferred from fresh water (FW) to SW. In situ hybridization analysis and immunohistochemistry at the light and electron microscopic levels revealed that Slc41a1 is localized to vacuoles in the apical cytoplasm of the proximal tubules. These results suggest that pufferfish Slc41a1 is a Mg2+ transporter involved in renal tubular transepithelial Mg2+ secretion by mediating Mg2+ transport from the cytosol to the vacuolar lumen, and support the hypothesis that Mg2 + secretion is mediated by exocytosis of Mg2+-rich vacuoles to the lumen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R385-R396
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 8 2013


  • Gene expression
  • Magnesium transporter
  • Proximal tubule
  • Renal secretion
  • Seawater fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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