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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2011 May;159(1):56-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2011.01.017. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

Adaptive haemoglobin gene control in Daphnia pulex at different oxygen and temperature conditions.

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Institut für Zoophysiologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Hindenburgplatz 55, D-48143 Münster, Germany.


Hypoxia-induced haemoglobin (Hb) expression is a central regulatory mechanism in Daphnia in response to environmental hypoxia or warm temperatures. Changes in Hb concentration as well as Hb subunit composition, which modulate Hb oxygen affinity, guarantee the oxygen supply of tissues under these environmental conditions. Based on the sequenced D. pulex genome, Hb genes were related to the properties of haemolymph Hb, which included its concentration and oxygen affinity (both measured by spectrophotometry) as well as the Hb subunit composition (determined by 2-D gel electrophoresis and ESI-MS analysis). Permanent cultures of D. pulex acclimated to different oxygen conditions (normoxia and hypoxia) and temperatures (10°C, 20°C, and 24°C), showed characteristic changes in Hb concentration, subunit composition and oxygen affinity. Several subunits (Hb4, Hb7, Hb8, and Hb10) were obviously responsible for changes in oxygen affinity including those, which carry a number of hypoxia-responsive elements (HREs) upstream of the respective gene (hb4 and hb10). Analysing the effects of different oxygen- or temperature-acclimations on Hb subunit expression in D. pulex and D. magna on a common basis (Hb concentration or oxygen affinity) revealed a general pattern of oxygen and temperature effects on Hb, which implies that Hb quantity and quality are mostly influenced by the degree of tissue hypoxia. Differences between both species in the onset of hypoxia-induced differential Hb expression and Hb oxygen affinity, which are probably related to different HRE patterns and functionally important differences in the amino acid sequence of only a few subunits, cause a reduced ability of D. pulex to adjust Hb function to temperature changes in comparison to D. magna.

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