William C. Plaxton, Ph.D. Biology, 1984

A study of the metabolic adaptations of marine gastropod molluscs to environmental anoxia stress



Catalytic and regulatory properties of alanopine dehydrogenase (ADH) and pyruvate kinase (PK) from tissues of anoxia tolerant marine gastropods were studied. Particular attention was given to those properties of the enzymes which could help explain their potential role(s) in anaerobic energy metabolism. The physical and kinetic properties of the terminal glycolytic dehydrogenase, ADH, purified to homogeneity from foot muscle of the common periwinkle, Littorina littorea, were examined. The kinetic properties of ADH favor enzyme function in cytoplasmic redox balance during the recovery period following long-term environmental anoxia. Tissue specific isozymes of ADH were found in another marine gastropod, the channelled whelk,Busycotypus canaliculatum. Three isozymic forms, specific for muscle, gill/kidney and hepatopancreas were identified. The three tissue specific isozymes of ADH were purified to homogeneity from foot muscle, gill and hepatopancreas and their kinetic and physical properties were studied. Muscle ADH showed properties which appear to gear this isozyme for alanopine synthesis as an end product of glycolysis. The hepatopancreas isozyme appears suited for a role in alanopine oxidation in vivo. The properties of gill ADH are intermediate between those of the other two forms. Tissue specific forms of PK were also found in B. canaliculatum. Three isozymic forms, specific for red muscle, white muscle and soft tissues, were identified. Furthermore, each PK isozyme was modified in animals subjected to 21 h of anoxic stress such that several physical and kinetic characteristics were altered. Aerobic and anoxic forms of red muscle PK (RPK-AER and RPK-ANX) were purified to homogeneity from radular retractor tissue of B canaliculatum and the physical and kinetic properties of the enzyme were extensively studied. The differences in kinetic properties between RPK-AER and RPK-ANX indicates that red muscle PK activity is probably greatly depressed in vivo during long-term anoxic stress. The anoxia-dependent, in vivo, covalent incorporation of injected (’32)P orthophosphate into RPK-ANX demonstrated that the enzyme is a phosphoprotein. Evidence for the reversibility of this phosphorylation was provided by the kinetic similarities between purified RPK-AER and homogenous alkaline phosphatase treated RPK-ANX.