A novel acidification mechanism for greatly enhanced oxygen supply to the fish retina
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.7554/elife.58995
Previously, we showed that the evolution of high acuity vision in fishes was directly associated with their unique pH-sensitive hemoglobins that allow O2 to be delivered to the retina at PO2s more than ten-fold that of arterial blood (Damsgaard et al., 2019). Here, we show strong evidence that vacuolar-type H+-ATPase and plasma-accessible carbonic anhydrase in the vascular structure supplying the retina act together to acidify the red blood cell leading to O2 secretion. In vivo data indicate that this pathway primarily affects the oxygenation of the inner retina involved in signal processing and transduction, and that the evolution of this pathway was tightly associated with the morphological expansion of the inner retina. We conclude that this mechanism for retinal oxygenation played a vital role in the adaptive evolution of vision in teleost fishes.