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Haemoglobin adaptations to subterranean burrows: Lessons from African mole rats. SEB 2016 Conference, Brighton, UK

Publikation: KonferencebidragPosterForskning

  • Roy E. Weber
  • Jennifer U. M Jarvis, Univ Cape Town, University of Cape Town, Zool Dept, Sydafrika
  • Angela Fago
  • Nigel C. Bennett, Univ Pretoria, University of Pretoria, Ctr Invas Biol, Dept Zool & Entomol, Danmark
Mole rats are strictly subterranean rodents that exhibit a range of striking anatomical, behavioural and physiological specializations, including the capacity to live and carry out intense burrowing activity under extremely hypoxic and hypercapnic conditions (O2 tensions lower than at the summit of Mount Everest and burrow-air CO2 concentrations above 6%). Species of African (family Bathyergidae) mole rats, which may be solitary or eusocial (living in large families with a single breeding pair) and show extreme longevity, inhabit intricate, deep and sealed subterranean burrows under a wide variety of conditions as regards soil types, relative humidity and vegetation diversity.
Compared to the high altitude mammals, little is known about the adaptations in haemoglobin (Hb) function that secure the exchange and internal transport of respiratory gases. With the view of identifying the implicated cellular and molecular mechanisms we report haematological parameters, as well as Hb-O2 binding characteristics, viz., the intrinsic Hb-O2 affinities a nd their sensitivities to pH and CO2 (the ‘fixed acid’ and ‘CO2‘ Bohr effects), 2,3 diphosphoglycerate (DPG, the main organic modulator of O2 affinity in mammalian red blood cells), and temperature, in six species of African mole rats that differ in sociality and biome and soil types. Our study reveals slight differences in haematological characters (haematocrit and red cell Hb and DPG concentrations) and intrinsic O2 affinities that were not clearly correlated with sociality or soil type, but marked reductions in specific (pHindependent) CO2 sensitivity that may contribute to safeguarding pulmonary O2 loading in hypoxic-hypercapnic burrows.
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 2016

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