Chitin Degrading Enzymes: Characteristics and Functions during Artemia Development

  • Brigitte Funke
  • Godelieve Criel
  • Klaus-Dieter Spindler
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 174)


In a preceeding paper we were able to demonstrate chitin and the chitin degrading enzymes, chitinase and Nacetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase, in cysts of Artemia[1]. The titers of the enzymes change during early development increasing to high levels at the beginning of emergence. Both chitinase and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase can be detected in the growth medium with a five-fold higher specific activity at the time when most of the animals reach the E2 or fully emerged stage. The regulation of the titers of chitinolytic enzymes during the early development of Artemia is presumably under the control of moulting hormones and thus resembles the situation in arthropods where a close correlation exists between chitinolytic activity and moulting hormones[2–5]. The results were taken as an indication for participation of chitin degrading enzymes, in addition to osmotic mechanisms, in the emergence process[1]. A direct proof of this hypothesis is still lacking. We therefore tried to answer the following questions:
  1. 1)

    Do chitinolytic enzymes accelerate the emergence process?

  2. 2)

    Are chitinolytic enzymes present during the whole life of Artemia and if so, is the pattern of enzymes identical from dormant cysts up to adulthood?

  3. 3)

    Does the enzymatic activity change during a moulting cycle and if so, is the shape of the titer curve comparable to those of other arthropods?



Titer Curve Moult Cycle Chitinolytic Enzyme Chitinolytic Activity Chitin Degradation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brigitte Funke
    • 1
  • Godelieve Criel
    • 2
  • Klaus-Dieter Spindler
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut fur Zoologie, Lehrstuhl fur Hormon- und EntwicklungsphysiologieUniversitaet DuesseldorfDuesseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Laboratorium voor AnatomieRijksuniversiteit GentGentBelgium

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