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FEBS Lett. 2011 Dec 15;585(24):3843-9. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.10.036. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Plant hemoglobins: important players at the crossroads between oxygen and nitric oxide.

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  • 1Department of Plant Physiology, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany.


Plant hemoglobins constitute a diverse group of hemeproteins and evolutionarily belong to three different classes. Class 1 hemoglobins possess an extremely high affinity to oxygen and their main function consists in scavenging of nitric oxide (NO) at very low oxygen levels. Class 2 hemoglobins have a lower oxygen affinity and they facilitate oxygen supply to developing tissues. Symbiotic hemoglobins in nodules have mostly evolved from class 2 hemoglobins. Class 3 hemoglobins are truncated and represent a clade with a very low similarity to class 1 and 2 hemoglobins. They may regulate oxygen delivery at high O(2) concentrations. Depending on their physical properties, hemoglobins belong either to hexacoordinate non-symbiotic or pentacoordinate symbiotic groups. Plant hemoglobins are plausible targets for improving resistance to multiple stresses.

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