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Journal Article

Knockdown of Drosophila hemoglobin suggests a role in 02 homeostasis.


Schuh,  R.
Research Group of Molecular Organogenesis, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Gleixner, E., Ripp, F., Gorr, T. A., Schuh, R., Wolf, C., Burmester, T., et al. (2016). Knockdown of Drosophila hemoglobin suggests a role in 02 homeostasis. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 72, 20-30. doi:10.1016/j.ibmb.2016.03.004.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-62D6-3
Almost all insects are equipped with a tracheal system, which appears to be sufficient for O-2 supply even in phases of high metabolic activity. Therefore, with the exception of a few species dwelling in hypoxic habitats, specialized respiratory proteins had been considered unnecessary in insects. The recent discovery and apparently universal presence of intracellular hemoglobins in insects has remained functionally unexplained. The fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster harbors three different globin genes (referred to as glob]-3). Glob1 is the most highly expressed globin and essentially occurs in the tracheal system and the fat body. To better understand the functions of insect globins, the levels of glob1 were modulated in Drosophila larvae and adults by RNAi-mediated knockdown and transgenic over-expression. No effects on the development were observed in flies with manipulated glob1 levels. However, the knockdown of glob1 led to a significantly reduced survival rate of adult flies under hypoxia (5% and 1.5% 02). Surprisingly, the glob1 knockdown flies also displayed increased resistance towards the reactive oxygen species forming agent paraquat, which may be explained by a restricted availability of O-2 resulting in decreased formation of harmful O-2(-). In summary, our results suggest an important functional role of glob1 in O-2 homeostasis, possibly by enhancing O-2 supply.