Teleost fish are excellent models to study the phylogeny of the slc34 gene family, Slc34-mediated phosphate (Pi) transport and how Slc34 transporters contribute Pi homeostasis. Fish need to accumulate Pi from the diet to sustain growth. Much alike in mammals, intestinal uptake in fish is partly a paracellular and partly a Slc34-mediated transcellular process. Acute regulation of Pi balance is achieved in the kidney via a combination of Slc34-mediated secretion and/or reabsorption. A great plasticity is observed in how various species perform and combine the different processes of secretion and reabsorption. A reason for this diversity is found in one or two whole genome duplication events followed by potential gene loss; consequently, teleosts exhibit distinctly different repertoires of Slc34 transporters. Moreover, due to habitats with vastly different salinity, teleosts face the challenge of either preserving water in a hyperosmotic environment (seawater) or excreting water in hypoosmotic freshwater. An additional challenge in understanding teleost Pi homeostasis are the genome duplication and retention events that diversified peptide hormones such as parathyroid hormone and stanniocalcin. Dietary Pi and non-coding RNAs also regulate the expression of piscine Slc34 transporters. The adaptive responses of teleost Slc34 transporters to e.g. Pi diets and vitamin D are informative in the context of comparative physiology, but also relevant in applied physiology and aquaculture. In fact, Pi is essential for teleost fish growth but it also exerts significant adverse consequences if over-supplied. Thus, investigating Slc34 transporters helps tuning the physiology of commercially valuable teleost fish in a confined environment.
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