Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Copper homeostasis in the digestive glands of crustacea

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.03.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biology   

Code Science Field
B210  Biomedical sciences  Histology, cytochemistry, histochemistry, tissue culture 
B361  Biomedical sciences  Physiology of invertebrates 
P310  Natural sciences and mathematics  Proteins, enzymology 
B340  Biomedical sciences  Animal anatomy, animal morphology 
copper homeostasis, crustacea, metallothioneins, intracellular granules, chromatography, light microscopy, electron microscopy
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  21844  Gregor Bračko    Technical associate  2004 - 2007  40 
2.  18913  PhD Cene Fišer  Biology  Junior researcher  2004 - 2007  273 
3.  24029  Jožica Murko Bulić    Technical associate  2004 - 2005 
4.  13605  PhD Simona Prevorčnik  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2007  103 
5.  00206  PhD Boris Sket  Biology  Head  2004 - 2007  586 
6.  25992  PhD Tomaž Skrbinšek  Biology  Researcher  2005 - 2007  228 
7.  14835  PhD Peter Trontelj  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2007  424 
8.  16261  PhD Rudi Verovnik  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2007  393 
9.  23478  PhD Maja Zagmajster  Biology  Junior researcher  2004 - 2007  343 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,273 
Copper is an essential trace metal required for survival by all organisms and a potential cytotoxin. Maintaining of copper homeostasis demands precise and coordinated mechanisms for uptake, distribution and export. Recent investigations of bacteria, yeast and mammals have explained many cellular mechanisms involved in copper balance. The key molecules in the regulation of copper include transport proteins for uptake and export; metallochaperones, cytosolic proteins acting in the intracellular trafficking; metallothioneins, ubiquitous proteins of low molecular weight and high metal content, involved in metal homeostasis, but their exact biological function is still a matter of debate. A large repertoire of proteins with a role in copper homeostasis has been identified and many mechanisms of their actions have been explained, but many questions in this field remain to be elucidated. Copper dynamics in crustacea is extremly intense, as copper is part of their respiratory pigment hemocyanin. Periods of intense synthesis and intense degradation of hemocyanin are related to the molting cycle of the animal. Investigations of decapod crustacea have revealed, that the concentrations of copper and copper-metallothioneins in the digestive glands change during the molting cycle. Digestive glands are the central metabolic organ of crustacea, where also the synthesis of hemocyanin takes place. Besides, in isopod crustacea digestive glands contain an outstanding amount of intracellular copper granules. We suppose that copper dynamics in the digestive glands of isopod crustacea is very intense and we consider this organ as a good system for studying copper homeostasis. We expect metallothioneins to play one of the mayor roles in copper distribution in the digestive glands of isopods. Biochemical methods will be used for characterization of copper-metallothioneins and light and electron microscopy for localization of these proteins at tissue and subcellular levels. We presume that the amount and distribution of intracellular copper granules in the digestive glands could be related to copper dynamics during the molting cycle of the animal. Histochemical localization of copper granules and ultrastructural analysis will be used to test this hypothesis. We expect that the results of the proposed investigation will contribute to understanding of copper dynamics in the crustacean digestive glands and to general insight into copper balance in organisms.
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