Waterborne amino acids: uptake and functional roles in aquatic animals

Robert A. Griffin, Chris N. Glover, Jenelle D. McCuaig, Tamzin A. Blewett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Dissolved organic matter is a ubiquitous component of freshwater and marine environments, and includes small nutrient molecules, such as amino acids, which may be available for uptake by aquatic biota. Epithelial transporters, including cotransporters, uniporters and antiporters, facilitate the absorption of dissolved amino acids (often against concentration gradients). Although there is a lack of mechanistic and molecular characterization of such transporters, pathways for the direct uptake of amino acids from the water appear to exist in a wide range of marine phyla, including Porifera, Cnidaria, Platyhelminthes, Brachiopoda, Mollusca, Nemertea, Annelida, Echinodermata, Arthropoda and Chordata. In these animals, absorbed amino acids have several putative roles, including osmoregulation, hypoxia tolerance, shell formation and metabolism. Therefore, amino acids dissolved in the water may play an important, but overlooked, role in aquatic animal nutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb245375
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct. 2023


  • Amino acid
  • Invertebrate
  • Transport


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