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New Functions of Arthropod Bursicon: Inducing Deposition and Thickening of New Cuticle and Hemocyte Granulation in the Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Functional Morphology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7815-4868
2012 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 7, no 9, e46299- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Arthropod growth requires molt-associated changes in softness and stiffness of the cuticle that protects from desiccation, infection and injury. Cuticle hardening in insects depends on the blood-borne hormone, bursicon (Burs), although it has never been determined in hemolymph. Whilst also having Burs, decapod crustaceans reiterate molting many more times during their longer life span and are encased in a calcified exoskeleton, which after molting undergoes similar initial cuticle hardening processes as in insects. We investigated the role of homologous crustacean Burs in cuticular changes and growth in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. We found dramatic increases in size and number of Burs cells during development in paired thoracic ganglion complex (TGC) neurons with pericardial organs (POs) as neurohemal release sites. A skewed expression of Burs β/Burs α mRNA in TGC corresponds to protein contents of identified Burs β homodimer and Burs heterodimer in POs. In hemolymph, Burs is consistently present at ~21 pM throughout the molt cycle, showing a peak of ~89 pM at ecdysis. Since initial cuticle hardness determines the degree of molt-associated somatic increment (MSI), we applied recombinant Burs in vitro to cuticle explants of late premolt or early ecdysis. Burs stimulates cuticle thickening and granulation of hemocytes. These findings demonstrate novel cuticle-associated functions of Burs during molting, while the unambiguous and constant presence of Burs in cells and hemolymph throughout the molt cycle and life stages may implicate further functions of its homo- and heterodimer hormone isoforms in immunoprotective defense systems of arthropods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 7, no 9, e46299- p.
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Research subject
Zoological physiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80921DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046299ISI: 000309973900126OAI: diva2:558300
Available from: 2012-10-02 Created: 2012-10-02 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved

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