Functions and Functioning of Crustacean Hemocyanin

  • B. McMahon


Although the oxygen binding properties of hemocyanin have been known for over 100 years the structure or functioning of this oxygen carrier molecule was poorly known at the time of Wolverkamp and Waterman’s (1960) chapter on respiration in Waterman’s “Physiology of Crustacea” and today, 25 years later, although our data base is much expanded our knowledge is still rudimentary compared with that for say mammalian Hb. In functional terms we have abundant evidence that the crustacean hemocyanins (Hcy) are, in fact efficient oxygen carrier molecules, usually of moderate oxygen affinity, higher than usual cooperativity but lower than usual oxygen carrier capacity. Other important roles in carbon dioxide transport, in regulation of hemolymph acid-base balance, and as hemolymph osmoeffector molecules, are now also known but have been very much less well studied.


Oxygen Transport Blue Crab Hypoxic Exposure Oxygen Affinity Bohr Effect 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

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  • B. McMahon

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