NFAT5 genes are part of the osmotic regulatory system in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Marlene Lorgen, Even H Jørgensen, William C Jordan, Samuel A M Martin, David G Hazlerigg

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The anadromous Atlantic salmon utilizes both fresh and salt water (FW and SW) habitats during its life cycle. The parrsmolt transformation (PST) is an important developmental transition from a FW adapted juvenile parr to a SW adapted
smolt. Physiological changes in osmoregulatory tissues, particularly the gill, are key in maintaining effective ion regulation during PST. Changes are initiated prior to SW exposure (preparative phase), and are completed when smolts enter the
sea (activational phase) where osmotic stress may directly stimulate changes in gene expression. In this paper we identify 4 nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT5, an osmotic stress transcription factor) paralogues in Atlantic salmon,
which showed strong homology in characterized functional domains with those identified in other vertebrates. Two of the identified paralogues (NFAT5b1 and NFAT5b2) showed increased expression following transfer from FW to SW. This
effect was largest in parr that were maintained under short day photoperiod, and showed the highest increases in chloride ion levels in response to SW exposure. The results of this study suggest that NFAT5 is involved in the osmotic stress response of Atlantic salmon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25–31
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Genomics
Early online date18 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by a grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC, BB/H008063/1), UK to DGH and SAM. Funding also came from Research Council Norway for project number 241016 for DGH and EJ. This work was carried out as part of a PhD thesis funded by the Marine Alliance of Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS).


  • nuclear activated factor of T-cells
  • salinity
  • salmonid
  • thyroid hormone
  • whole genome duplication


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