Carbonic anhydrase in Mytilus galloprovincialis: characterization of the response to metal exposure

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Carbonic anhydrase (CA) is a ubiquitous metalloenzyme, which catalyzes the reversible hydration of CO2 to HCO3− and H+. In animals it plays a key role in a number of physiological functions involving carbon dioxide and bicarbonate, such as respiration, pH homeostasis, electrolyte transport, calcification, and biosynthetic reactions. In a previous study Caricato et al (Comp. Biochem. Physiol., 152, 241–247, 2010) demonstrated for the first time in animals CA activity and protein expression to be enhanced by the exposure to the trace element cadmium in mussel digestive gland, opening new perspective in the comprehension of the functioning and regulation of this enzyme. The aim of the thesis project is to characterize the metal specificity and tissue specificity of the response of CA activity and expression to metal exposure in mussels. The animals will be exposed to different metals, such as Cd, Cu and Hg, both single and in mixture, and the CA activity and expression response will be characterized at different time and concentration of exposure. In parallel other known physiological responses of the animals to metal exposure will be analyzed, such as metallothionein induction and lysosomal activation. The CA results will be correlated with the other responses to metal exposure, in order to demonstrate the existence, if any, of functional link among them.
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contact person first name: 
Maria Giulia Lionetto
Other people involved: 
Roberto Caricato (post-doc)
Reference Number: RP-39831