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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Relationship between body size, Na+-K+-ATPase activity, and membrane lipid composition in mammal and bird kidney.

We investigated the relationship between body size, Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase molecular activity, and membrane lipid composition in the kidney of five mammalian and eight avian species ranging from 30-g mice to 280-kg cattle and 13-g zebra finches to 35-kg emus, respectively. Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase activity was found to be higher in the smaller species of both groups. In small mammals, the higher Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase activity was primarily the result of an increase in the molecular activity (turnover rate) of individual enzymes, whereas in small birds the higher Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase activity was the result of an increased enzyme concentration. Phospholipids from both mammals and birds contained a relatively constant percentage of unsaturated fatty acids; however, phospholipids from the smaller species were generally more polyunsaturated, and a complementary significant allometric increase in monounsaturate content was observed in the larger species. In particular, the relative content of the highly polyunsaturated docosahexaenoic acid [22:6(n-3)] displayed the greatest variation with body mass, scaling with allometric exponents of -0.21 and -0.26 in the mammals and birds, respectively. This allometric variation in fatty acid composition was correlated with Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase molecular activity in mammals, whereas in birds molecular activity only correlated with membrane cholesterol content. These relationships are discussed with respect to the metabolic intensity of different-sized animals.[1]


  1. Relationship between body size, Na+-K+-ATPase activity, and membrane lipid composition in mammal and bird kidney. Turner, N., Haga, K.L., Hulbert, A.J., Else, P.L. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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