Navigation Links
First finding of a metabolite in 1 sex only
Date:8/21/2007

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a chemical compound in male blue crabs that is not present in females -- the first time in any species that an entire enzyme system has been found to be activated in only one sex.

The research, performed using nuclear magnetic resonance, was published online Aug. 22 in PLoS ONE, the peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the Public Library of Science.

Although hormone level differences are generally accepted as the primary cause of variation between the sexes in animal and human development, the existence of a sex-specific metabolite is a previously unrecognized and potentially significant biochemical phenomenon, according to Robert Kleps, director of the UIC Research Resource Center NMR Lab and lead author of the study.

"It's possible to speculate that the presence or absence of a sex-specific metabolite might affect an animal's development, anatomy and biochemistry," Kleps said. Differences between the sexes such as susceptibility to heart disease or average life span might be due to the presence or absence of a metabolite, he said.

Now that the existence of a sex-specific metabolite has been proved for one animal, Kleps says researchers might review metabolic studies in other animals, including humans, to look for the presence of a sex-specific metabolite that might have escaped notice in the variation among individuals.

Using primarily phosphorus-31 NMR, with the capability of analyzing whole tissue, Kleps observed an unusual signal in the gill tissue of male blue crabs that was absent in females.

NMR can be measured in the nuclei of certain isotopes, including hydrogen-1, carbon-13 and phosphorus-31, whose atoms resonate at characteristic frequencies in a magnetic field. The exact frequency is slightly changed by the atom's chemical micro-environment within a particular molecule.

The researchers found in male gill tissue an atom of P-31 with a signature "chemical shift," indicating the presence of a unique, unidentified phosphorus compound.

They then isolated and analyzed the phosphorus compound, identifying it as 2-aminoethyl phosphonate, an uncommon but well-documented metabolite. AEP is not known to be a hormone.

The researchers tested gill tissue from crabs harvested in six different years from the Chesapeake Bay and the gulf coast of Florida. Specimens from each region produced similar results, confirming that the presence of AEP in males and absence in females is the norm for blue crabs.

But, Kleps said, it was still not possible to rule out that the difference between the sexes was due to a difference in their diet. Fortunately, while writing the first draft of the paper, Kleps happened to read that a rare gynandromorphic blue crab -- one half male, one half female -- had been captured by Romuald Lipcius of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William & Mary.

The rare gynandromorph is divided down the middle, with a characteristic blue male claw and a female red claw. The underside of the crab is also visibly divided into male and female halves. After the crab died, Lipcius sent Kleps gill tissue from each side for analysis. The measured levels of AEP from the male and female gills provided additional evidence that AEP is a sex-specific compound.

"Since both sides of this strange crab have, of necessity, shared a diet and environment, we had completely independent confirmation of the sex-specific nature of this metabolite," said Kleps.

"That blue crabs have this sex-specific compound may be a fluke, or it might represent a common but overlooked process in animal development," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jeanne Galatzer-Levy
jgala@uic.edu
312-996-1583
University of Illinois at Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. A genes first kiss sets off that affair known as puberty
2. Timing is everything: First step in protein building revealed
3. Emory Eye Center Implants Its First Retinal Chips In Patients With Retinitis Pigmentosa
4. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
5. First-ever Compounds To Target Only Metastatic Cells Are Highly Effective Against Breast, Prostate, And Colon Cancers
6. NYCs First Rapid HIV Drug-resistant AIDS Case Prompts Call to Step Up HIV Prevention
7. First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers
8. Love at first smell
9. Worlds largest rainforest drying experiment completes first phase
10. PCRM develops worlds first cruelty-free insulin assay
11. Breast-Cancer Risk Linked to Exposure to Traffic Emissions at Menarche, First Birth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/27/2017)... , Feb. 27, 2017   Strategic Cyber ... announced it has led a $3.5 million investment in  ... platform. Strategic Cyber Ventures is DC based and is ... Hank Thomas . Ron Gula , also ... Ventures, also participated in this series A round of ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... -- With the biometrics market to exceed $10 ... that innovative and agile startups must incorporate into ... changing competitive landscape: multifactor authentication (MFA), point-of-sale (PoS), ... "Companies can no longer afford to cut corners ... Pavlakis , Industry Analyst at ABI Research. "Pairing ...
(Date:2/16/2017)...  Genos, a community for personal genetic discovery ... Laboratory Accreditation from the College of American Pathologists ... that meet stringent requirements around quality, accuracy and ... "Genos is committed to maintaining the highest ... to be receiving CAP accreditation," said Jill ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 22, 2017   iSpecimen ®, the ... Doctors Pathology Service (DPS), a full-service anatomic ... the United States , has joined a ... Information Network (DHIN) to make human biospecimens and ... The novel program, announced in 2015 as a collaboration ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... TORONTO , March 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - ... Therapeutics (the "Company" or "Propellon"), a start-up created ... WDR5-targeted anti-cancer therapeutics. FACIT,s investment, combined with non-dilutive ... lead program. The seed funding enables Propellon to ... position the Company for financing and/or entering a ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 21, 2017 , ... Premier executive ... & Life Science Search Firm by Hunt Scanlon Media. , Hunt Scanlon ... and the most widely referenced global news source in the human capital sector. , ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Benchworks CEO ... Executive Officer Forum on March 23-24 in San Diego. The event is a ... diagnostic industries. , Benchworks Vice President Christian Meyer will also participate in the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: