Hemocyanins (also spelled haemocyanins) are respiratory proteins in the form of metalloproteins containing two copper atoms that reversibly bind a single oxygen molecule (O2). Oxygenation causes a color change between the colorless Cu(I) deoxygenated form and the blue Cu(II) oxygenated form. Hemocyanins carry oxygen in the blood of most molluscs, and some arthropods such as the horseshoe crab. They are second only to hemoglobin in biological popularity of use in oxygen transport.Fact|date=October 2008


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 atoms in porphyrin rings (heme groups), the copper atoms of hemocyanin are bound as prosthetic groups coordinated by histidine 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 changes in the protein complex, which increases hemoglobin's affinity for oxygen when partially oxygenated. In some hemocyanins of horseshoe crabs and some other species of arthropods, cooperative binding is observed, with Hill coefficients between 1.6-3. Hill constants vary depending on species and laboratory measurement settings. Hemoglobin for comparison has a Hill coefficient of usually 2.8-3. In these cases of cooperative binding 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.

Hemocyanin is made of many individual subunit proteins, each of which contains two copper atoms and can bind one oxygen molecule (O2). Each subunit weighs about 75 kilodaltons (kDa). Subunits may be arranged in dimers or hexamers depending on species, the dimer or hexamer complex is likewise arranged in chains or clusters in weights exceeding 1500 kDa. The subunits are usually , 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 kidneys. 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. cite web|url=http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TCV-40W5V6F-J&_user=521824&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000059577&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=521824&md5=19f7d0f5a6ce73e94c9b9f9496a44504| title=Tyrosinase/catecholoxidase activity of hemocyanins: structural basis and molecular mechanism|accessdate= 2008-07-31|author= Decker|year= 2000|month= August|publisher= http://www.sciencedirect.com]


Spectroscopy of oxyhemocyanin shows several salient features:Fact|date=April 2007
# resonance Raman spectroscopy shows symmetric binding
# UV-Vis spectroscopy shows strong absorbances at 350 and 580 nm.
# OxyHc is EPR-silent indicating the absence of unpaired electrons
# Infrared spectroscopy 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's trans-peroxo models.cite journal | author = K. D. Karlin, R. W. Cruse, Y. Gultneh, A. Farooq, J. C. Hayes and J. Zubieta | title = Dioxygen-copper reactivity. Reversible binding of O2 and CO to a phenoxo-bridged dicopper(I) complex | year = 1987 | journal = J. Am. Chem. Soc. | volume = 109 | issue = 9 | pages = 2668–2679 | doi=10.1021/ja00243a019] (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.cite journal | author = N. Kitajima, K. Fujisawa, C. Fujimoto, Y. Morooka, S. Hashimoto, T. Kitagawa, K. Toriumi, K. Tatsumi and A. Nakamura | title = A new model for dioxygen binding in hemocyanin. Synthesis, characterization, and molecular structure of the μ-η2:η2 peroxo dinuclear copper(II) complexes, [Cu(HB(3,5-R2pz)3)] 2(O2) (R = isopropyl and Ph) | year = 1992 | journal = J. Am. Chem. Soc. | volume = 114 | issue = 4 | pages = 1277–1291 | doi=10.1021/ja00030a025]

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" blood has immunotherapeutic effects against bladder and prostate cancer. In a research made in 2006 mice were primed with C. concholepas before implantation of bladder tumor (MBT-2) cells. Mice treated with "C. concholepas" showed a significant antitumor effect as. The effects included prolonged survival, decreased tumor growth and incidence and lack of toxic effects. [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B7XMT-4M818D9-3&_user=651519&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000035158&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=651519&md5=f00c10235b9a17349bd5b164a21ae54b#sec3] This Month in Investigative Urology, ScienceDirect]

ee also

* Keyhole limpet hemocyanin
* Hemoglobin
* Myoglobin


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • hemocyanin — hemocyanin. См. гемоцианин. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • hemocyanin — [hē΄məsī′ə nin] n. [ HEMO + CYAN + IN1] a blue, oxygen carrying blood pigment containing copper, found in many arthropods and mollusks …   English World dictionary

  • hemocyanin — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary hem + cyan + 1 in Date: 1885 a copper containing respiratory pigment in the circulatory fluid of various arthropods and mollusks …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hemocyanin — n. [Gr. haima, blood; kyanos, dark blue] A blue oxygen carrying respiratory protein containing copper in the prosthetic group instead of iron; found in many invertebrate species …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • hemocyanin — /hee meuh suy euh nin, hem euh /, n. Biochem. a blue, copper containing respiratory pigment in the plasma of many invertebrates. [1835 45; HEMO + CYAN 1 + IN2] * * * …   Universalium

  • hemocyanin — noun a blue copper containing respiratory pigment (a metalloprotein) found in most molluscs, and some arthropods …   Wiktionary

  • hemocyanin — An oxygen carrying pigment (molecular weights between 0.45 and 13 × 106) of lower sea animals (including molluscs and crustacea) and arthropods; copper is an essential component, but it contains no heme; used as an experimental antigen. * * *… …   Medical dictionary

  • hemocyanin — Copper containing respiratory pigment in blood of malacostracans [Moore and McCormick, 1969]. (Class Malacostraca): Copper containing respiratory pigment in blood [McLaughlin, 1980] …   Crustacea glossary

  • hemocyanin — he·mo·cy·a·nin …   English syllables

  • hemocyanin — he•mo•cy•a•nin [[t]ˌhi məˈsaɪ ə nɪn[/t]] n. biochem. a blue copper containing pigment that transports oxygen in the blood of many mollusks, crustaceans, and other invertebrates • Etymology: 1835–45; hemo + Gkkýan(os)(see cyano ) + in I …   From formal English to slang

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