A novel invertebrate gastrointestinal transport mechanism has been shown to couple chloride/sulfate exchange in an electrogenic fashion. In the lobster, Homarus americanus, the hepatopancreas, or digestive gland, exists as an outpocketing of the digestive tract, representing a single cell layer separating the gut lumen and an open circulatory system comprised of hemolymph. Investigations utilizing independently prepared brush-border and basolateral membrane vesicles revealed discrete antiport systems which possess the capacity to bring about a transcellular secretion of sulfate. The luminal antiport system functions as a high affinity, one-to one chloride-sulfate exchanger that is stimulated by an increase in luminal hydrogen ion concentration. Such a system would take advantage of the high chloride concentration of ingested seawater, as well as the high proton concentrations generated during digestion, which further suggests a potential regulation by resident sodium-proton exchangers. Exchange of one chloride for one divalent sulfate ion provides the driving force for electrogenic vectorial translocation. The basolateral antiport system–was found to be electroneutral in nature, responsive to gradients of the dicarboxylic anion oxalate, while lacking in proton stimulation. No evidence of sodium-sulfate cotransport, commonly reported for the brush border of vertebrate renal and intestinal epithelia, was observed in either membrane preparation. The two antiporters together can account for the low hemolymph to seawater sulfate levels previously described in decapod crustaceans. A secretory pathway for sulfate based upon electrogenic chloride-antiport may appear among invertebrates partly in response to digestion taking place in a seawater environment.
Buy this Article