Upwelling-derived oceanographic conditions impact growth performance and growth-related gene expression in intertidal fish

Eduardo N. Fuentes, Rodrigo Zuloaga, Oscar Almarza, Katterinne Mendez, Juan Antonio Valdés, Alfredo Molina, Jose Pulgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Growth is one of the main biological processes in aquatic organisms that is affected by environmental fluctuations such as upwelling (characterized by food-rich waters). In fish, growth is directly related with skeletal muscle increase; which represents the largest tissue of body mass. However, the effects of upwelling on growth, at the physiological and molecular level, are unknown. This study used Girella laevifrons (one of the most abundant intertidal fish in Eastern South Pacific) as a biological model, considering animals from upwelling (U) and non-upwelling (NU) areas. Here, we evaluated the effect of nutritional composition and food availability on growth performance and expression of key growth-related genes (insulin-kike growth factor 1 (igf1) and myosin heavy-chain (myhc)) and atrophy-related genes (muscle ring-finger 1 (murf1), F-box only protein 32 (atrogin-1) and BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19 kDa-interacting protein 3 (bnip3)). We reported that, among zones, U fish displayed higher growth performance in response to nutritional composition, specifically between protein- and fiber-rich diets (~ 1 g). We also found in NU fish that atrophy-related genes were upregulated with fiber-rich diet and during fasting (~ 2-fold at minimum respect U). In conclusion, our results suggest that the growth potential of upwelling fish may be a consequence of differential muscle gene expression. Our data provide a preliminary approach contributing on how upwelling influence fish growth at the physiological and molecular levels. Future studies are required to gain further knowledge about molecular differences between U and NU animals, as well as the possible applications of this knowledge in the aquaculture industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-18
Number of pages7
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Girella laevifrons
  • Intertidal ecology
  • Muscle growth
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Upwelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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