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J Exp Biol. 2010 Aug 1;213(Pt 15):2565-74. doi: 10.1242/jeb.042598.

Genetic differences in hemoglobin function between highland and lowland deer mice.

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1
School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA. jstorz2@unl.edu

Abstract

In high-altitude vertebrates, adaptive changes in blood-O(2) affinity may be mediated by modifications of hemoglobin (Hb) structure that affect intrinsic O(2) affinity and/or responsiveness to allosteric effectors that modulate Hb-O(2) affinity. This mode of genotypic specialization is considered typical of mammalian species that are high-altitude natives. Here we investigated genetically based differences in Hb-O(2) affinity between highland and lowland populations of the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), a generalist species that has the broadest altitudinal distribution of any North American mammal. The results of a combined genetic and proteomic analysis revealed that deer mice harbor a high level of Hb isoform diversity that is attributable to allelic polymorphism at two tandemly duplicated alpha-globin genes and two tandemly duplicated beta-globin genes. This high level of isoHb diversity translates into a correspondingly high level of interindividual variation in Hb functional properties. O(2) equilibrium experiments revealed that the Hbs of highland mice exhibit slightly higher intrinsic O(2) affinities and significantly lower Cl(-) sensitivities relative to the Hbs of lowland mice. The experiments also revealed distinct biochemical properties of deer mouse Hb related to the anion-dependent allosteric regulation of O(2) affinity. In conjunction with previous findings, our results demonstrate that modifications of Hb structure that alter allosteric anion sensitivity play an important role in the adaptive fine-tuning of blood-O(2) affinity.

PMID:
20639417
PMCID:
PMC2905302
DOI:
10.1242/jeb.042598
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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