Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 179, Issue 3, pp 369–381 | Cite as

Cationic composition and acid–base state of the extracellular fluid, and specific buffer value of hemoglobin from the branchiopod crustacean Triops cancriformis

  • Ralph Pirow
  • Ina Buchen
  • Marc Richter
  • Carsten Allmer
  • Frank Nunes
  • Andreas Günsel
  • Wiebke Heikens
  • Tobias Lamkemeyer
  • Björn M. von Reumont
  • Stefan K. Hetz
Original Paper


Recent insights into the allosteric control of oxygen binding in the extracellular hemoglobin (Hb) of the tadpole shrimp Triops cancriformis raised the question about the physico-chemical properties of the protein’s native environment. This study determined the cationic composition and acid–base state of the animal’s extracellular fluid. The physiological concentrations of potential cationic effectors (calcium, magnesium) were more than one order of magnitude below the level effective to increase Hb oxygen affinity. The extracellular fluid in the pericardial space had a typical bicarbonate concentration of 7.6 mM but a remarkably high CO2 partial pressure of 1.36 kPa at pH 7.52 and 20°C. The discrepancy between this high CO2 partial pressure and the comparably low values for water-breathing decapods could not solely be explained by the hemolymph-sampling procedure but may additionally arise from differences in cardiovascular complexity and efficiency. T. cancriformis hemolymph had a non-bicarbonate buffer value of 2.1 meq L−1 pH−1. Hb covered 40–60% of the non-bicarbonate buffering power. The specific buffer value of Hb of 1.1 meq (mmol heme)−1 pH−1 suggested a minimum requirement of two titratable histidines per heme-binding domain, which is supported by available information from N-terminal sequencing and expressed sequence tags.


Cationic composition Acid–base state Buffer value Hemolymph Hemoglobin Crustacea 



The authors would like to thank Rüdiger J. Paul for the general support of this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph Pirow
    • 1
  • Ina Buchen
    • 1
  • Marc Richter
    • 1
  • Carsten Allmer
    • 1
  • Frank Nunes
    • 1
  • Andreas Günsel
    • 2
  • Wiebke Heikens
    • 2
  • Tobias Lamkemeyer
    • 3
  • Björn M. von Reumont
    • 4
  • Stefan K. Hetz
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of ZoophysiologyUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.German Environmental Specimen Bank, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  3. 3.Proteome Center Tübingen, Interfaculty Institute for Cell BiologyEberhard-Karls University of TübingenTübingenGermany
  4. 4.Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander KoenigBonnGermany
  5. 5.Department of Animal PhysiologyHumboldt University of BerlinBerlinGermany

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