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Open AccessArticle

Taurine Biosynthesis in a Fish Liver Cell Line (ZFL) Adapted to a Serum-Free Medium

Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, 701 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
Marine Resources Research Institute, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, 217 Fort Johnson Rd, Charleston, SC 29412, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul Long
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(6), 147;
Received: 1 April 2017 / Revised: 18 May 2017 / Accepted: 22 May 2017 / Published: 25 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and New Perspectives in Marine Biotechnology II 2016)
PDF [2285 KB, uploaded 25 May 2017]


Although taurine has been shown to play multiple important physiological roles in teleosts, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying dietary requirements. Cell lines can provide useful tools for deciphering biosynthetic pathways and their regulation. However, culture media and sera contain variable taurine levels. To provide a useful cell line for the investigation of taurine homeostasis, an adult zebrafish liver cell line (ZFL) has been adapted to a taurine-free medium by gradual accommodation to a commercially available synthetic medium, UltraMEM™-ITES. Here we show that ZFL cells are able to synthesize taurine and be maintained in medium without taurine. This has allowed for the investigation of the effects of taurine supplementation on cell growth, cellular amino acid pools, as well as the expression of the taurine biosynthetic pathway and taurine transporter genes in a defined fish cell type. After taurine supplementation, cellular taurine levels increase but hypotaurine levels stay constant, suggesting little suppression of taurine biosynthesis. Cellular methionine levels do not change after taurine addition, consistent with maintenance of taurine biosynthesis. The addition of taurine to cells grown in taurine-free medium has little effect on transcript levels of the biosynthetic pathway genes for cysteine dioxygenase (CDO), cysteine sulfinate decarboxylase (CSAD), or cysteamine dioxygenase (ADO). In contrast, supplementation with taurine causes a 30% reduction in transcript levels of the taurine transporter, TauT. This experimental approach can be tailored for the development of cell lines from aquaculture species for the elucidation of their taurine biosynthetic capacity. View Full-Text
Keywords: taurine-free medium; ZFL cells; taurine biosynthesis taurine-free medium; ZFL cells; taurine biosynthesis

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Liu, C.-L.; Watson, A.M.; Place, A.R.; Jagus, R. Taurine Biosynthesis in a Fish Liver Cell Line (ZFL) Adapted to a Serum-Free Medium. Mar. Drugs 2017, 15, 147.

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