The effects of the deep-sea environment on transmembrane signaling

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Membrane-associated processes may be particularly susceptible to perturbation by the high hydrostatic pressures and low temperatures of the deep ocean. Transmembrane signaling by guanyl nucleotide binding protein (G protein) coupled receptors (GPCRs) is affected at a number of steps: (1) agonist activation of the GPCR; (2) the interaction of the receptor with the heterotrimeric G protein; (3) the G protein GTPase cycle; and (4) the activation and function of the effector element, adenylyl cyclase. The effects of low temperature and high hydrostatic pressures on the A(1) adenosine receptor-inhibitory G protein (G(i))-adenylyl cyclase signaling complex were examined in teleost fishes from three families, Scorpaenidae, Macrouridae and Moridae. In a comparison of teleost fishes, rat and chicken, species with body temperatures from 1 to 40 degrees C, at atmospheric pressure, A(1) adenosine receptor agonist binding is conserved at the body temperature of the species. In the marine teleost fishes examined, increased pressure decreases agonist efficacy. There are differences among species in the effects of increased hydrostatic pressure on G protein interactions with receptors, GTP binding to G protein alpha subunits and the intrinsic GTPase activity of alpha subunits. Adenylyl cyclase activity and modulation are affected by increased pressure in all the species examined, except Antimora rostrata which was unaffected by pressure changes. At pressures approximating those which the species experience in situ adenylyl cyclase activity retains its sensitivity to modulators. To understand the physiological consequences of impaired cell signaling several prototypical human diseases are discussed.

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Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part B, Biochemistry & molecular biology

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