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Antarctic fauna are highly adapted to the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean. This study describes the in vitro temperature sensitivity of oxygen consumption rates measured in liver mitochondria from the pelagic notothenioid Pleuragramma antarcticum between 5 and 35 C. Oxygen fluxes were measured after the addition of millimolar levels of pyruvate, malate, succinate and glutamate (state II, LEAK) and saturating levels of ADP [state III, oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)]. State III respiration significantly decreased above 18.7 C. A comparison of the oxidative capacities among P. antarcticum and other notothenioids showed significant differences in state III respiration, where benthic species exhibited about 50 % lower rates than P. antarcticum . In addition, state III respiration rates normalized per milligram of mitochondrial protein of P. antarcticum were up to eight times higher than state III rates reported in the literature for other notothenioids. The comparatively high respiration rates measured in this study may be explained by our approach, which engaged both complexes I and II under conditions of oxidative phosphorylation. State III rates of independently activated complexes I and II were found to range from 42 to 100 % of rates obtained when both complexes were activated simultaneously in the same species. The remarkable tolerance of P. antarcticum OXPHOS toward warmer temperatures was unexpected for an Antarctic stenotherm and may indicate that thermal sensitivity of their mitochondria is not the driving force behind their stenothermy.


The final publication has been published online in Marine Biology and is available at



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