Hemocyanin
Overview
 
Hemocyanins are respiratory protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

s in the form of metalloprotein
Metalloprotein
Metalloprotein is a generic term for a protein that contains a metal ion cofactor. Metalloproteins have many different functions in cells, such as enzymes, transport and storage proteins, and signal transduction proteins. Indeed, about one quarter to one third of all proteins require metals to...

s containing two copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 atoms that reversibly bind a single oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 molecule (O2). Oxygenation causes a color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

 change between the colorless Cu(I) deoxygenated form and the blue
Blue
Blue is a colour, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 440–490 nm. It is considered one of the additive primary colours. On the HSV Colour Wheel, the complement of blue is yellow; that is, a colour corresponding to an equal...

 Cu(II) oxygenated form. Hemocyanins carry oxygen in the hemolymph
Hemolymph
Hemolymph, or haemolymph, is a fluid in the circulatory system of some arthropods and is analogous to the fluids and cells making up both blood and interstitial fluid in vertebrates such as birds and mammals...

 of most molluscs, and some arthropod
Arthropod
An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton , a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda , and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others...

s, including the horseshoe crab
Horseshoe crab
The Atlantic horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, is a marine chelicerate arthropod. Despite its name, it is more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions than to crabs. Horseshoe crabs are most commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico and along the northern Atlantic coast of North America...

, Limulus polyphemus. They are second only to hemoglobin
Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates, with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae, as well as the tissues of some invertebrates...

 in frequency of use as an oxygen transport molecule.
Encyclopedia
Hemocyanins are respiratory protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

s in the form of metalloprotein
Metalloprotein
Metalloprotein is a generic term for a protein that contains a metal ion cofactor. Metalloproteins have many different functions in cells, such as enzymes, transport and storage proteins, and signal transduction proteins. Indeed, about one quarter to one third of all proteins require metals to...

s containing two copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 atoms that reversibly bind a single oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 molecule (O2). Oxygenation causes a color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

 change between the colorless Cu(I) deoxygenated form and the blue
Blue
Blue is a colour, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 440–490 nm. It is considered one of the additive primary colours. On the HSV Colour Wheel, the complement of blue is yellow; that is, a colour corresponding to an equal...

 Cu(II) oxygenated form. Hemocyanins carry oxygen in the hemolymph
Hemolymph
Hemolymph, or haemolymph, is a fluid in the circulatory system of some arthropods and is analogous to the fluids and cells making up both blood and interstitial fluid in vertebrates such as birds and mammals...

 of most molluscs, and some arthropod
Arthropod
An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton , a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda , and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others...

s, including the horseshoe crab
Horseshoe crab
The Atlantic horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, is a marine chelicerate arthropod. Despite its name, it is more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions than to crabs. Horseshoe crabs are most commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico and along the northern Atlantic coast of North America...

, Limulus polyphemus. They are second only to hemoglobin
Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates, with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae, as well as the tissues of some invertebrates...

 in frequency of use as an oxygen transport molecule. Unlike the hemoglobin in red blood cells found in vertebrates, hemocyanins are not bound to blood cells but are instead suspended directly in the hemolymph
Hemolymph
Hemolymph, or haemolymph, is a fluid in the circulatory system of some arthropods and is analogous to the fluids and cells making up both blood and interstitial fluid in vertebrates such as birds and mammals...

.

Explanation

Although the respiratory function of hemocyanin is similar to that of hemoglobin, there are a significant number of differences in its molecular structure and mechanism. Whereas hemoglobin carries its iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 atoms in porphyrin
Porphyrin
Porphyrins are a group of organic compounds, many naturally occurring. One of the best-known porphyrins is heme, the pigment in red blood cells; heme is a cofactor of the protein hemoglobin. Porphyrins are heterocyclic macrocycles composed of four modified pyrrole subunits interconnected at...

 rings (heme
Heme
A heme or haem is a prosthetic group that consists of an iron atom contained in the center of a large heterocyclic organic ring called a porphyrin. Not all porphyrins contain iron, but a substantial fraction of porphyrin-containing metalloproteins have heme as their prosthetic group; these are...

 groups), the copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 atoms of hemocyanin are bound as prosthetic groups coordinated by histidine
Histidine
Histidine Histidine, an essential amino acid, has a positively charged imidazole functional group. It is one of the 22 proteinogenic amino acids. Its codons are CAU and CAC. Histidine was first isolated by German physician Albrecht Kossel in 1896. Histidine is an essential amino acid in humans...

 residues. Species using hemocyanin for oxygen transportation are commonly crustaceans living in cold environments with low oxygen pressure. Under these circumstances hemoglobin oxygen transportation is less efficient than hemocyanin oxygen transportation.

Most hemocyanins bind with oxygen non-cooperatively and are roughly one-fourth as efficient as hemoglobin at transporting oxygen per amount of blood. Hemoglobin binds oxygen cooperatively due to steric conformation
Protein folding
Protein folding is the process by which a protein structure assumes its functional shape or conformation. It is the physical process by which a polypeptide folds into its characteristic and functional three-dimensional structure from random coil....

 changes in the protein complex
Protein complex
A multiprotein complex is a group of two or more associated polypeptide chains. If the different polypeptide chains contain different protein domain, the resulting multiprotein complex can have multiple catalytic functions...

, which increases hemoglobin's affinity for oxygen when partially oxygenated. In some hemocyanins of horseshoe crab
Horseshoe crab
The Atlantic horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, is a marine chelicerate arthropod. Despite its name, it is more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions than to crabs. Horseshoe crabs are most commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico and along the northern Atlantic coast of North America...

s and some other species of arthropods, cooperative binding is observed, with Hill coefficients of 1.6 - 3.0. Hill coefficients vary depending on species and laboratory measurement settings. Hemoglobin, for comparison, has a Hill coefficient of usually 2.8 - 3.0. In these cases of cooperative binding
Cooperative binding
In biochemistry, a macromolecule exhibits cooperative binding if its affinity for its ligand changes with the amount of ligand already bound.Cooperative binding is a special case of allostery. Cooperative binding requires that the macromolecule have more than one binding site, since cooperativity...

 hemocyanin was arranged in protein sub-complexes of 6 subunits (hexamer) each with one oxygen binding site; binding of oxygen on one unit in the complex would increase the affinity of the neighboring units. Each hexamer complex was arranged together to form a larger complex of dozens of hexamers. In one study, cooperative binding was found to be dependent on hexamers being arranged together in the larger complex, suggesting cooperative binding between hexamers. Hemocyanin oxygen-binding profile is also affected by dissolve-salt ion levels and pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

.

Hemocyanin is made of many individual subunit proteins, each of which contains two copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 atoms and can bind one oxygen molecule (O2). Each subunit weighs about 75 kilodaltons (kDa). Subunits may be arranged in dimer
Protein dimer
In biochemistry, a dimer is a macromolecular complex formed by two, usually non-covalently bound, macromolecules like proteins or nucleic acids...

s or hexamer
Hexamer
A hexamer is a thing composed out of six sub-units.In microbiology, a hexamer is one of the proteins composing the polyhedral protein shell that encloses the bacterial micro-compartments known as carboxysomes....

s depending on species, the dimer or hexamer complex is likewise arranged in chains or clusters in weights exceeding 1500 kDa. The subunits are usually homogeneous, or heterogeneous with two variant subunit types. Because of the large size of hemocyanin, it is usually found free-floating in the blood, unlike hemoglobin, which must be contained in cells because its small size would lead it to clog and damage blood-filtering organs such as the kidney
Kidney
The kidneys, organs with several functions, serve essential regulatory roles in most animals, including vertebrates and some invertebrates. They are essential in the urinary system and also serve homeostatic functions such as the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and...

s. This free-floating nature can allow for increased hemocyanin density over hemoglobin and increased oxygen carrying capacity. On the other hand, free-floating hemocyanin can increase viscosity and increase the energy expenditure needed to pump blood.

Catalytic activity

It is interesting to compare hemocyanin to the phenol oxidases (e.g. tyrosinase), homologous enzymes sharing its type 3 Cu active site coordination. Hemocyanin also exhibits phenol oxidase activity, but with slowed kinetics from greater steric bulk at the active site. Partial denaturation actually improves hemocyanin’s phenol oxidase activity by providing greater access to the active site.

Structure

Spectroscopy of oxyhemocyanin shows several salient features:
  1. resonance Raman spectroscopy
    Raman spectroscopy
    Raman spectroscopy is a spectroscopic technique used to study vibrational, rotational, and other low-frequency modes in a system.It relies on inelastic scattering, or Raman scattering, of monochromatic light, usually from a laser in the visible, near infrared, or near ultraviolet range...

     shows symmetric binding
  2. UV-Vis spectroscopy shows strong absorbances at 350 and 580 nm.
  3. OxyHc is EPR
    Electron paramagnetic resonance
    Electron paramagnetic resonance or electron spin resonance spectroscopyis a technique for studying chemical species that have one or more unpaired electrons, such as organic and inorganic free radicals or inorganic complexes possessing a transition metal ion...

    -silent indicating the absence of unpaired electrons
  4. Infrared spectroscopy
    Infrared spectroscopy
    Infrared spectroscopy is the spectroscopy that deals with the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, that is light with a longer wavelength and lower frequency than visible light. It covers a range of techniques, mostly based on absorption spectroscopy. As with all spectroscopic...

     shows ν(O-O) of 755 cm-1


(1) rules out a mononuclear peroxo complex
(2) does not match with the UV-Vis spectra of mononuclear peroxo and Kenneth Karlin
Kenneth Karlin
Kenneth Karlin or just Karlin is a Danish songwriter and producer who is best known for his work with Karsten Schack better known as Soulshock forming the Los Angeles-based producer duo Soulshock & Karlin. They have particularly worked with artists like Whitney Houston, Backstreet Boys, 2Pac, Mary J...

's trans-peroxo models.
(4) shows a considerably weaker O-O bond compared with Karlin's trans-peroxo model.

On the other hand, Nobumasa Kitajima's model shows ν(O-O) of 741 cm-1 and UV-Vis absorbances at 349 and 551 nm, which agree with the experimental observations for oxyHc.

The weak O-O bond of oxyhemocyanin is because of metal-ligand backdonation into the σ* orbitals. The donation of electrons into the O-O antibonding orbitals weakens the O-O bond, giving a lower than expected infrared stretching frequency.

Immunotherapeutical effects

The hemocyanin found in Concholepas concholepas
Concholepas concholepas
Concholepas concholepas, common names the Chilean abalone, loco or pata de burro and chanque , is a species of large edible sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk. Despite the superficial resemblance, C...

blood has immunotherapeutic effects against bladder
Bladder cancer
Bladder cancer is any of several types of malignant growths of the urinary bladder. It is a disease in which abnormal cells multiply without control in the bladder. The bladder is a hollow, muscular organ that stores urine; it is located in the pelvis...

 and prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

. Researchers in 2006 primed mice
MICE
-Fiction:*Mice , alien species in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy*The Mice -Acronyms:* "Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions", facilities terminology for events...

 with C. concholepas before implantation of bladder tumor
Tumor
A tumor or tumour is commonly used as a synonym for a neoplasm that appears enlarged in size. Tumor is not synonymous with cancer...

 (MBT-2) cells. Mice treated with C. concholepas showed significant antitumor effects: prolonged survival, decreased tumor growth and incidence, and lack of toxic effects.

See also

  • Atlantic horseshoe crab blood
  • Keyhole limpet hemocyanin
    Keyhole limpet hemocyanin
    Keyhole limpet hemocyanin is a large, multisubunit, oxygen-carrying, metalloprotein found in the hemolymph of the giant keyhole limpet, Megathura crenulata, that lives off the coast of California from Monterey Bay to Isla Asuncion off Baja California.-Protein properties:Keyhole limpet hemocyanin...

  • Hemoglobin
    Hemoglobin
    Hemoglobin is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates, with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae, as well as the tissues of some invertebrates...

  • Myoglobin
    Myoglobin
    Myoglobin is an iron- and oxygen-binding protein found in the muscle tissue of vertebrates in general and in almost all mammals. It is related to hemoglobin, which is the iron- and oxygen-binding protein in blood, specifically in the red blood cells. The only time myoglobin is found in the...

  • Lobster
    Lobster
    Clawed lobsters comprise a family of large marine crustaceans. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate.Though several groups of crustaceans are known as lobsters, the clawed lobsters are most...

  • Squid
    Squid
    Squid are cephalopods of the order Teuthida, which comprises around 300 species. Like all other cephalopods, squid have a distinct head, bilateral symmetry, a mantle, and arms. Squid, like cuttlefish, have eight arms arranged in pairs and two, usually longer, tentacles...

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