Evolutionary history and diversity of arthropod hemocyanins

Thorsten Burmester
Micron 2004, 35 (1): 121-2
Hemocyanins are copper-containing, multi-subunit proteins that transport oxygen in the hemolymph of many molluscs and arthropods [Markl and Decher, Adv. Comp. Environ. Physiol. 13 (1992) 325; 15563]. Arthropod hemocyanins originated more than 550 million years ago from oxygen-consuming phenoloxidases. Hemocyanins are present in various Onychophora, Chelicerata, Myriapoda, Crustacea, and Hexapoda, but subunit evolution differs striking in these arthropod subphyla. Hemocyanins also gave rise to non-respiratory proteins (crustacean pseudo-hemocyanins, insect hexamerins, and hexamerin receptors), which most likely have storage functions.

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