Environmental Physiology Lab
Although fish generate and excrete ammonia, elevated ammonia in the environment can be a deadly poison. We have studied pathways involved in ammonia detoxification. Brain glutamine synthetase is an important enzyme involved in reducing ammonia levels. Alternative nitrogen excretion pathways may also be effective in reducing the uptake of ammonia and/or eliminating excess tissue ammonia. We have explored a new class of ammonia transporters belonging to the Rhesus glycoprotein (Rh) family. Rh genes are upregulated in the gills, kidney and skin of mangrove rivulus, carp, goldfish, and trout in response to environmental stress.