Hemocyanins are giant extracellular proteins that transport oxygen in the hemolymph of many molluscs. Molluscan hemocyanins are cylindrical decamers or didecamers of a 350–400 kDa subunit that contains seven or eight different covalently linked globular functional units (FUs), arranged in a linear manner. Each FU carries a single copper active site and reversibly binds one dioxygen molecule. As a consequence, the decamer can carry up to 70 or 80 O2 molecules.
Hemocyanins are giant extracellular oxygen carriers in the hemolymph of many molluscs. Nautilus pompilius (Cephalopoda) hemocyanin is a cylindrical decamer of a 350 kDa polypeptide subunit that in turn is a “pearl-chain” of seven different functional units (FU-a to FU-g). Each globular FU has a binuclear copper centre that reversibly binds one O2 molecule, and the 70-FU decamer is a highly allosteric protein. Its primary structure and an 11 Å cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure have recently been determined, and the crystal structures of two related FU types are available in the databanks.