Structural characterization of recombinant crustacyanin subunits from the lobster Homarus americanus

Michele Ferrari, Claudia Folli, Elisa Pincolini, Timothy S. Mcclintock, Manfred Rössle, Rodolfo Berni, Michele Cianci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Crustacean crustacyanin proteins are linked to the production and modification of carapace colour, with direct implications for fitness and survival. Here, the structural and functional properties of the two recombinant crustacyanin subunits H1 and H2 from the American lobster Homarus americanus are reported. The two subunits are structurally highly similar to the corresponding natural apo crustacyanin CRTC and CRTA subunits from the European lobster H. gammarus. Reconstitution studies of the recombinant crustacyanin proteins H1 and H2 with astaxanthin reproduced the bathochromic shift of 85-95 nm typical of the natural crustacyanin subunits from H. gammarus in complex with astaxanthin. Moreover, correlations between the presence of crustacyanin genes in crustacean species and the resulting carapace colours with the spectral properties of the subunits in complex with astaxanthin confirmed this genotype-phenotype linkage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-853
Number of pages8
JournalActa Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • astaxanthin
  • bathochromic shift
  • colouration
  • lobster carapace
  • recombinant carotenoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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