Globins in nonvertebrate species: Dispersal by horizontal gene transfer and evolution of the structure-function relationships

L. Moens, J. Vanfleteren, Y. Van de Peer, K. Peeters, O. Kapp, J. Czeluzniak, M. Goodman, M. Blaxter, S. Vinogradov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using a new template based on an alignment of 145 nonvertebrate globins we examined several recently determined sequences of putative globins and globin-like hemeproteins. We propose that all globins have evolved from a family of ancestral, approx. 17-kDa hemeproteins, which displayed the globin fold and functioned as redox proteins. Once atmospheric O2 became available the acquisition of oxygen-binding properties was initiated, culminating in the various highly specialized functions known as present. During this evolutionary process, we suggest that (1) high oxygen affinity may have been acquired repeatedly and (2) the formation of chimeric proteins containing both a globin and a flavin binding domain was an additional and distinct evolutionary trend. Furthermore, globin-like hemeproteins encompass hemeproteins produced through convergent evolution from nonglobin ancestral proteins to carry out O2-binding functions as well as hemeproteins whose sequences exhibit the loss of some or all of the structural determinants of the globin fold. We also propose that there occurred two cases of horizontal globin gene transfer, one from an ancestor common to the ciliates Paramecium and Tetrahymena and the green alga Chlamydomonas to a cyanobacterium ancestor and the other, from a eukaryote ancestor of the yeasts Saccharomyces and Candida to a bacterial ancestor of the proteobacterial genera Escherichia, Alcaligenes, and Vitreoscilla.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-333
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Volume13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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