Complete hemocyanin subunit sequences of the hunting spider Cupiennius salei: recent hemocyanin remodeling in entelegyne spiders

Pia Ballweber, J├╝rgen Markl, Thorsten Burmester
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2002 April 26, 277 (17): 14451-7
Hemocyanins are large copper-containing respiratory proteins found in many arthropod species. Scorpions and orthognath spiders possess a highly conserved 4 x 6-mer hemocyanin that consists of at least seven distinct subunit types (termed a to g). However, many "modern" entelegyne spiders such as Cupiennius salei differ from the standard arachnid scheme and have 2 x 6-mer hemocyanins. Here we report the complete primary structure of the 2 x 6-mer hemocyanin of C. salei as deduced from cDNA sequencing, gel electrophoresis, and matrix-assisted laser desorption spectroscopy. Six distinct subunit types (1 through 6) and three additional allelic sequences were identified. Each 1 x 6-mer half-molecule most likely is composed of subunits 1-6, with subunit 1 linking the two hexamers via a disulfide bridge located in a C-terminal extension. The C. salei hemocyanin subunits all belong to the arachnid g-type, whereas the other six types (a-f) have been lost in evolution. The reconstruction of a complex hemocyanin from a single g-type subunit, which commenced about 190 million years ago and was completed about 90 million years ago, might be explained by physiological and behavioral changes that occurred during the evolution of the entelegyne spiders.

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