Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Craig Gatto


The Na,K-ATPase (NKA) is an essential membrane pump that helps to establish cell ion gradients, and regulate intracellular salt in many organisms. One such species, Artemia franciscana (brine shrimp), extreme halophiles which live in hypersaline environments, expresses 2 distinct α-catalytic subunits of the NKA. One of these subunits, α2-(KK), has two key lysine substitutions located within the cation binding sites. Prior work has demonstrated this specific subunit may be directly involved in brine shrimp adaptation to their extreme environments. However, the precise molecular and physiological effects of α2-(KK) have not been entirely elucidated. I determined through immunohistochemistry that my initial hypothesis that the NKA may be expressed apically in the gut epithelia was wrong. However, further exploration of the brine shrimp showed that the salt regulation organ, metepipodites, have distinct NKA expression and cell morphology. I also identified RNA expression of the α2-KK subunit was upregulated and apparent ion affinities were altered, when brine shrimp were reared in a hypersaline environment.


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