Calcium homeostasis in crustacea: The evolving role of branchial, renal, digestive and hypodermal epithelia

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Crustaceans serve as an ideal model for the study of calcium homeostasis due to their natural molting cycle. Demineralization and remineralization of the calcified cuticle is accompanied by bidirectional Ca transfer across the primary Ca transporting epithelia: gills, antennal gland (kidney), digestive system, and cuticular hypodermis. The review will demonstrate how a continuum of crustaceans can be used as a paradigm for the evolution of Ca transport mechanisms. Generally speaking, aquatic crustaceans rely primarily on branchial Ca uptake and accordingly are affected by water Ca content; terrestrial crustaceans rely on intake of dietary Ca across the digestive epithelium. Synchrony of mineralization at the cuticle vs. storage sites will be presented. Physiological and behavioral adaptations have evolved to optimize Ca balance during the molting cycle in different Ca environments. Intracellular Ca regulation reveals common mechanisms of apical and basolateral membrane transport as well as intracellular sequestration. Regulation of cell Ca concentration will be discussed in intermolt and during periods of the molting cycle when transepithelial Ca flux is significantly elevated. Molecular characterization of the sarco-/endoplasmic reticular Ca pump in aquatic species reveals the presence of two isoforms that originate from a single gene. This gene is differentially expressed during the molting cycle. Gene expression may be regulated by a suite of hormones including ecdysone, calcitonin, and vitamin D. Perspectives for future research are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-640
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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