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J Inorg Biochem. 2005 Jan;99(1):23-33.

Globin-coupled sensors, protoglobins, and the last universal common ancestor.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Snyder Hall 207, 2538 The Mall, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA.


The strategy for detecting oxygen, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and sulfides is predominantly through heme-based sensors utilizing either a globin domain or a PAS domain. Whereas PAS domains bind various cofactors, globins bind only heme. Globin-coupled sensors (GCSs) were first described as regulators of the aerotactic responses in Bacillus subtilis and Halobacterium salinarum. GCSs were also identified in diverse microorganisms that appear to have roles in regulating gene expression. Functional and evolutionary analyses of the GCSs, their protoglobin ancestor, and their relationship to the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) are discussed in the context of globin-based signal transduction.

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