Lungless Salamanders’ Skin Expresses Protein Crucial for Lung Function

January 30, 2019
Lungless Salamander by Dave Huth on Flickr

Scientists have long assumed that the hundreds of species of salamanders that lack lungs breathe instead through their skin and the lining of the mouth. However, a new study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B led by postdoc Zachary Lewis (Hanken Lab) and Prof. Jim Hanken provides the first concrete evidence for how the lungless salamanders do "breathe".

The authors, including former Harvard Extension School student Jorge Dorantes, shows that a gene that produces surfactant protein c — a key protein for lung function — is expressed in the skin and mouths of lungless salamanders, suggesting it also plays an important role for cutaneous respiration. Harvard Gazette

Image: Lungless Salamander by Dave Huth on Flickr