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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Aug 28;98(18):10119-24.

A hemoglobin from plants homologous to truncated hemoglobins of microorganisms.

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  • 1CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


We have identified a nuclear-encoded Hb from plants (GLB3) that has a central domain similar to the "truncated" Hbs of bacteria, protozoa, and algae. The three-dimensional structure of these Hbs is a 2-on-2 arrangement of alpha-helices, distinct from the 3-on-3 arrangement of the standard globin fold [Pesce, A., Couture, M., Dewilde, S., Guertin, M., Yamauchi, K., Ascenzi, P., Moens, L. & Bolognesi, M. (2000) EMBO J. 19, 2424-2434]. GLB3-like genes are not found in animals or yeast, but our analysis reveals that they are present in a wide range of Angiosperms and a Bryophyte. Although cyanobacteria and Chlamydomonas have 2-on-2 Hbs (GLBN), GLB3 is more likely related to GLBO-type 2-on-2 Hbs from bacteria. Consequently, GLB3 is unlikely to have arisen from a horizontal transfer between the chloroplast and nuclear genomes. Arabidopsis thaliana GLB3 protein exhibits unusual concentration-independent binding of O(2) and CO. The absorbance spectrum of deoxy-GLB3 is unique; the protein forms a transient six-coordinate structure after reduction and deoxygenation, which slowly converts to a five-coordinate structure. In A. thaliana, GLB3 is expressed throughout the plant but responds to none of the treatments that induce plant 3-on-3 Hbs. Our analysis of the sequence, ligand interactions, and expression profile of GLB3 indicates that this protein has unique biochemical properties, evolutionary history, and, most likely, a function distinct from those of other plant Hbs.

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