Aestivation Induction and Evidence of Conformational Differences Between Oxy-haemocyanin and Deoxyhaemocyaninin Aestivating and Non-aestivating Snails
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Aestivation Induction and Evidence of Conformational Differences Between Oxy-haemocyanin and Deoxyhaemocyaninin Aestivating and Non-aestivating Snails

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– Aestivation Induction and Evidence of Conformational Differences Between Oxy-haemocyanin and Deoxyhaemocyaninin Aestivating and Non-aestivating Snails –

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Abstract

Haemocyanin is a high molecular weight, dioxygen, transport, copper-glycoprotein with a dicopper active site found in the haemolymph of several marines and terrestrial invertebrates belonging to the phyla Mollusca and Arthropoda

Haemocyanin exists in two distinct conformers: The T-conformer (Tense) and the R-conformer (Relaxed). Knowledge of the molecular architecture around the copper atoms in the active site of haemocyanin is important in understanding how these proteins reversibly bind oxygen.

Induction of aestivation and the evidence of conformational differences between oxy-haemocyanin and deoxy-haemocyanin in aestivating and non-aestivating snails were studied.

Aestivation induction was studied by treating five groups of snails (groups A, B, C, D and E) with respective volumes of oxy-haemocyanin from aestivating snails, respective volumes of oxy-haemocyanin from non-aestivating snails and respective volumes of distilled water.

Evidence of conformational differences between oxyhaemocyanin and deoxy-haemocyanin was also studied by treating the haemolymph of two snail samples (Snail 1 and Snail 2) with nitrogen gas.

Introduction

Mollusca is the second largest phylum of the animal kingdom, forming a major part of the world fauna. The Gastropoda is the only class of molluscs that have successfully invaded the land.

They are one of the most diverse groups of animals, both in shape and habit. Among gastropods, land snails (subclass: Pulmonata) are one of the most numerous with almost 35,000 described species of the world.   

The Phylum Mollusca is probably the third most important animal group after the arthropods and vertebrates (South, 1992). Snails and slugs belong to the class Gastropoda.

They are molluscs, a group of invertebrates with soft unsegmented bodies. Slugs are often described as snails without a shell, while snail bodies are enclosed in calcareous shells (Barker, 2001; Ramzy, 2009).  

The terrestrial Mollusca including snails and slugs are destructive agricultural pests causing economic damage to a wide variety of plants including horticulture, field crops, and forestry.

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