Meeting Abstract

15.1  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Crustacean ion and oxygen tranporters: research by David Towle and Steve Morris, and new findings on hemocyanin TERWILLIGER, NB; University of Oregon, Charleston nterwill@uoregon.edu

This presentation on crustacean biology will discuss recent studies by our friends and esteemed colleagues, David Towle and Steve Morris, plus new directions in hemocyanin research. First, David Towle showed that crustaceans and vertebrates share similar ion transporters. In his worldwide travels David encouraged collaborators by example to integrate molecular techniques into comparative biochemical and physiological approaches to understanding ion regulation in crustaceans. I will revisit some key findings in one of his recent projects, in collaboration with Ray Henry and me, that explored the global expression patterns of the green crab in response to hyposalinity. Second, Steve Morris provided a mosaic of global patterns of hemocyanin function related to life histories of crabs from terrestrial to marine, Christmas Island to South Africa. His interest in the relatedness of thermal and hypoxic challenge, behavior, and modification of gene expression in crustaceans led to his examining regulation of key metabolic enzymes in hypoxia. Third, I will discuss new findings from the laboratory of Heinz Decker and colleagues that describe how hemocyanin undergoes a conformational flip from reversible oxygen binding to phenoloxidase. Their structural analyses using high resolution electron cryomicroscopy and pseudoatomic models coupled with enzyme analyses show how arthropod hemocyanin could participate in providing oxygen to respiring tissues, hardening the newly molted exoskeleton, and catalyzing the early steps of melanin synthesis, a factor in the immune response.