The pyruvate kinase of the whiteleg shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei: Gene structure and responses to short term hypoxia

Dalia G. Cruz-Moreno, Elisa M. Valenzuela-Soto, Alma B. Peregrino-Uriarte, Lilia Leyva-Carrillo, Jose G. Soñanez-Organis, Gloria Yepiz-Plascencia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei is the main farmed crustacean worldwide. This shrimp suffers environmental changes in oxygen availability that affect its energy metabolism. Pyruvate kinase (PK) catalyzes the last reaction of glycolysis and is key for the regulation of glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. There is ample knowledge about mammalian PK, but in crustaceans, the information is very scarce. In this study, we analyzed in silico the structures of the PK gene and protein. Also, the effects of hypoxia on gene expression, enzymatic activity, glucose, and lactate in hepatopancreas and muscle were analyzed. The PK gene is 15,103 bp and contains 11 exons and 10 introns, producing four mRNA variants by alternative splicing and named PK1, PK2, PK3 and PK4, that results in two proteins with longer C-terminus and two with a 12 bp insertion. The promoter contains putative binding sites for transcription factors (TF) that are typically involved in stress responses. The deduced amino acid sequences contain the classic domains, binding sites for allosteric effectors and potential reversible phosphorylation residues. Protein modeling indicates a homotetramer with highly conserved structure. The effect of hypoxia for 6 and 12 h showed tissue-specific patterns, with higher expression, enzyme activity and lactate in muscle, but higher glucose in hepatopancreas. Changes in response to hypoxia were detected at 12 h in expression with induction in muscle and reduction in hepatopancreas, while enzyme activity was maintained, and glucose and lactate decreased. These results show rapid changes in expression and metabolites, while enzyme activity was maintained to cope with short-term hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111468
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
StatePublished - Sep 2023

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  • Expression
  • Glycolysis
  • Hypoxia
  • PK gene
  • Shrimp


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