Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(6):712-725. doi:10.7150/ijbs.11827 This issue

Research Paper

Induction of Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (PEPCK) during Acute Acidosis and Its Role in Acid Secretion by V-ATPase-Expressing Ionocytes

Fumiya Furukawa1,2, Yung-Che Tseng3, Sian-Tai Liu3, Yi-Ling Chou1, Ching-Chun Lin1, Po-Hsuan Sung4, Katsuhisa Uchida2, Li-Yih Lin3, Pung-Pung Hwang1✉

1. Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei, Taiwan
2. Department of Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Miyazaki, Miyazaki, Japan
3. Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan
4. Department of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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Furukawa F, Tseng YC, Liu ST, Chou YL, Lin CC, Sung PH, Uchida K, Lin LY, Hwang PP. Induction of Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (PEPCK) during Acute Acidosis and Its Role in Acid Secretion by V-ATPase-Expressing Ionocytes. Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(6):712-725. doi:10.7150/ijbs.11827. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Vacuolar-Type H+-ATPase (V-ATPase) takes the central role in pumping H+ through cell membranes of diverse organisms, which is essential for surviving acid-base fluctuating lifestyles or environments. In mammals, although glucose is believed to be an important energy source to drive V-ATPase, and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), a key enzyme for gluconeogenesis, is known to be activated in response to acidosis, the link between acid secretion and PEPCK activation remains unclear. In the present study, we used zebrafish larva as an in vivo model to show the role of acid-inducible PEPCK activity in glucose production to support higher rate of H+ secretion via V-ATPase, by utilizing gene knockdown, glucose supplementation, and non-invasive scanning ion-selective electrode technique (SIET). Zebrafish larvae increased V-ATPase-mediated acid secretion and transiently expression of Pck1, a zebrafish homolog of PEPCK, in response to acid stress. When pck1 gene was knocked down by specific morpholino, the H+ secretion via V-ATPase decreased, but this effect was rescued by supplementation of glucose into the yolk. By assessing changes in amino acid content and gene expression of respective enzymes, glutamine and glutamate appeared to be the major source for replenishment of Krebs cycle intermediates, which are subtracted by Pck1 activity. Unexpectedly, pck1 knockdown did not affect glutamine/glutamate catalysis, which implies that Pck1 does not necessarily drive this process. The present study provides the first in vivo evidence that acid-induced PEPCK provides glucose for acid-base homeostasis at an individual level, which is supported by rapid pumping of H+ via V-ATPase at the cellular level.

Keywords: Gluconeogenesis, acid-base regulation, PEPCK, V-ATPase, glutamine