Trimethylamine oxide, betaine and scyllo-inositol in deep-sea animals: depth trends and effects on enzymes under hydrostatic pressure

P. H. Yancey, M. D. Rhea, Kirsty Kemp, David Mark Bailey

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    Most shallow teleosts have low organic osmolyte contents, e.g. 70 mmol/kg or less of trimethylamine oxide (TMAO). Our previous work showed that TMAO contents increase with depth in muscles of several Pacific families of teleost fishes, to about 180 mmol/kg wet wt at 2.9 km depth in grenadiers. We now report that abyssal grenadiers (Coryphaenoides armatus, Macrouridae) from the Atlantic at 4.8 km depth contain 261 mmol/kg wet wt in muscle tissue. This precisely fits a linear trend extrapolated from the earlier data. We also found that anemones show a trend of increasing contents of methylamines (TMAO, betaine) and scyllo-inositol with increasing depth. Previously we found that TMAO counteracts the inhibitory effects of hydrostatic pressure on a variety of proteins. We now report that TMAO and, to a lesser extent, betaine, are generally better stabilizers than other common osmolytes (myo-inositol, taurine and glycine), in terms of counteracting die effects of pressure on NADH K-m of grenadier lactate dehydrogenase and ADP K-m of anemone and rabbit pyruvate kinase.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)371-376
    Number of pages5
    JournalCellular and Molecular Biology
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • trimethylamine oxide
    • betaine
    • inositol
    • taurine
    • deep-sea
    • osmolyte
    • pyruvate kinase
    • lactate dehydrogenase
    • Coryphaenoides
    • FISHES

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