The subunit structure of erythrocruorin from the cladoceran Daphnia magna was studied. The native protein was found to have a sedimentation coefficient (S2(20), w) of 17.9 +/- 0.2 S and a molecular weight, as determined by sedimentation equilibrium, of 494 000 +/- 33 000. Iron and haem determinations gave 0.312 +/- 0.011% and 3.84 +/- 0.04%, corresponding to minimal molecular weights of 17900 +/- 600 and 16 100 +/- 200 respectively. Sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis gave one band with mobility corresponding to a molecular weight of 31 000 +/- 1 500. The molecular weight of the polypeptide chain determined by sedimentation equilibrium in 6 M-guanidinium chloride and 0.1 M-2-mercaptoethanol is 31 100 +/- 1300. On a molecular-weight basis, Daphnia erythrocruorin is composed of 16 identical polypeptide chains carrying two haem groups each. The native structure is stable between pH5 and 8.5. At alkaline and acidic pH, a gradual decrease in the sedimentation coefficient down to 9.8S occurs. Above pH 10 and below pH4, a slow component with S20, w between 2.7S and 4.0S is observed. The 2.7S, 4.0S and 9.8S species are identified as single-chain subunits, subunit dimers and half-molecules respectively. We propose a model for the molecule composed of 16 2.7S subunits grouped in two layers stacked in an eclipsed orientation, the eight subunits of each layer occupying the vertices of a regular eight-sided polygon. Support for this arrangement is provided from electron microscopy and from analysis of the pH-dissociation pattern.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.